THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has been slammed for delaying the commencement of a new bus service from Cork to Kinsale that was due to commence on Monday January 9th.
Kinsale Connect confirmed that they were unable to begin the service last week due to the delay in receiving ticket machines from the UK and Leap card readers from the NTA.
Private bus operator, West Cork Connect, that operates several daily services from Bantry and Skibbereen to Cork city, was awarded the new 228 service contract in November. This was to ease pressure on an already busy and oversubscribed Bus Éireann 226 route from Cork to Kinsale.
The new hourly service will mean that for the first time there will be a direct route from Kinsale, Belgooly, Riverstick, Ballygarvan and Ballinhassig to the universities, CUH and the city.
‘We will provide an update on the new start date in the coming days when we get an exact delivery date for these ticket machines,’ said a Kinsale Connect spokesperson.
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard said this was very disappointing for commuters said it is ‘unbelievable’ that the NTA are the reason for the delay.
‘Once again the NTA is letting the people of Kinsale and surrounding area down and they continue to show disregard for the public who use the 226 public bus service by refusing to engage and resolve issues around the unsuitability of the bus stop on Clontarf Street in Cork city,’ said Sen Lombard.
‘Now the NTA is the reason that the new Kinsale Connect private service didn’t start on January 9th as planned.’
Green Party Local Areas representative for Bandon Kinsale Marc Ó Riain said that while it is disappointing news, he is asking people to be patient.
‘There are shocking logistics delays in all industries and the important thing is we get this service running, hopefully before students start back for the second semester,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Sen Lombard is also going to raise the matter of the bus stop in Cork city with Minister Eamon Ryan because he is receiving no satisfaction from the NTA.
‘This bus stop was relocated during Covid without any consultation with the public or Bus Éireann. There is no bus shelter and poor public lighting and the NTA have refused to engage with my office on this issue.’
A NTA spokesperson said that while a new service can commence without electronic ticketing, the operator has indicated that their preference is to commence their new service with electronic ticketing in place.
‘They use the Metric ticketing solution on their services and it is their intention to move from this to the Transmarch solution for their current services and for this new service. The Transmarch system has been rolled out to operators over the past few months and up till Christmas was still in its pilot phase.’
The spokesperson added that throughout January, they authority will be working with the operator to allow them to migrate their ticketing solution from Metric to Transmarch.
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