A PUBLIC bus service between Clonakilty and Kinsale has been extended to run later in the evening as part of the government’s bid to tackle rural isolation.
The number 253, launched last July, is a year-round, seven-day-a-week service operating five times daily between both towns, starting just after 7am and running until around 6pm.
The route takes in a wide, rural hinterland collecting passengers in Timoleague, Courtmacsherry, Butlerstown, Ring, Lislevane, Grange and the Old Head.
As part of an extension to the rural transport link, it will now operate until around 11.30pm, most likely on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Transport Minister Shane Ross unveiled details of the plan, dubbed the ‘drinklinks’ which benefits 19 counties in all, which he hopes will get more TDs on side with his clampdown on drink-driving.
The service, which comprises two 20-seater buses run by local bus companies, is administered by Local Link Cork – formerly the West Cork Rural Transport Link – and has been welcomed by manager David O’Brien.
He said the service would benefit locals and tourists, with a funding commitment in place until the end of the year.
Exact details are still to be finalised, but he expected the later service to run for three nights initially, with hopes for it to be extended further.
‘We hope this won’t be just a pilot, and that more funding will be made available,’ he added.
Passengers travel for a nominal fee, while senior citizens travel for free.
Minister for the Elderly, Jim Daly described this as ‘a dawn in how we counter rural isolation.
‘This is not about drink; it is about combating lonely lives by creating a network of services that respect the way people live their lives,’ he said.