By BRIAN MOORE
FOR many in West Cork a commute of one hour or more to get to work or college has become a fact of life, according to the recently released Census 2016 results.
The worst hit are those living in areas west of Bandon and Clonakilty, with up to 13% of commuters in these towns having to travel for at least one hour to get to work or college. While nationally the Census results show an increase in the number of people using public transport to get to work, for most in West Cork the car is still their only means of transport.
‘I’m travelling to and from Ballincollig for work,’ said Pat O’Sullivan, who lives in Kealkil. ‘It’s not too bad, but there are certain sections of the trip that can be slow due to the road surface, and during the winter months the journey can take anything up to 90 minutes. You just get used to it, I suppose, but I would like to work closer to home. My wife has a job locally and the kids are settled in school, so, for now, that’s the way it is.’
For those living and working in the areas surrounding Bantry, Skibbereen and Castletownbere, the commuting times are not as bad. However, there are significant numbers of people in the Clonakilty area who are spending up to an hour commuting each day.
While the Census 2016 data does not detail the direction or numbers of people commuting from certain locations, it is clear that those living in and around Bandon, Kinsale, Carrigaline or Castletownbere have the shortest travel times.
Due to the lack of public transport options in West Cork, over 70% of people travel to work by car, compared to 65.6% nationally.
‘The bus service between Bantry and Cork city isn’t an option,’ Pat O’Sullivan said.
‘I have to be at work for 8am and I would need to change buses in the city centre to get out to Ballincollig. The travel time would be longer and I wouldn’t get home until later in the evening. I can’t see the public transport service changing for the better anytime soon, either.’