14 July 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Cork based Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has – this summer – criticised the outrageous expense and impracticalities facing West Cork bus users.
Senator Lombard said: “Over the past couple of years I have been campaigning for the reduction of fares for West Cork bus services.
“While the introduction of the Green Zone – providing cheaper fares for regular commuters as far as Bandon and Kinsale – is a welcome development, nothing has been done to reduce the significant cost of travelling to and from further west.
“Bus tickets in West Cork are still extremely expensive. The cash price for an adult travelling only one way from Bantry to Cork city is €19.
“Leap Cards do provide a 30% reduction, but when users are only getting a few cent change from 20 euro it hardly seems worth it. Using a Leap Card to get from Clonakilty to Cork and back will still cost €19.60 – the cash price for this return journey ticket is €22. To add insult to injury, these prices do not include further bus use in and around the city.
“I appreciate that there are some cost-saving options, but not enough is being done to provide affordable public bus services for West Cork commuters.”
Senator Lombard continued: “It is not just the excessive prices that make the West Cork public bus services inaccessible, but also the impracticalities.
“One example is the Leap Card top ups; in Cork the only top up options are via the Android app or to go to a pay-zone agent, of which there are only a couple in the entire West Cork region. Bus patrons are consistently recommended to top up online, but this method still requires the credit to be loaded onto the Leap Card – which, for Bus Éireann users in Cork, can only be done at a payzone agent or through the (android only) app, thus negating the usefulness of online top ups.
“Another way to improve the bus services would be to reduce the frequent delays. The bus in Kinsale for example is often delayed by up to 20 minutes during summer due to the high tourist numbers purchasing tickets, or printing online purchases, through the bus driver. I have repeatedly asked Bus Éireann if a ticket machine could be installed in the town to reduce these delays but have always been refused with no suitable, alternative solution being presented.
“As a member of the Oireachtas Climate Action committee I want to see increased use of public transport as a means through which we can achieve a cleaner, greener environment and meet our climate action targets. We should be encouraging increased use of our bus services by making it an economically viable and practical option for commuters.
“We must make our public services accessible, and I intend to see prices reduced.”