By Kieran O’Mahony
WEST Cork bus users are being short changed when it comes to bus fares with the cost of a one way adult ticket from Bantry to Cork costing almost €20, according to a local Senator.
Fine Gael’s Tim Lombard has again criticised what he calls the outrageous expense and impracticalities facing West Cork bus users.
‘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,’ said Mr Lombard.
‘Bus tickets in West Cork are still extremely expensive and the cash price for an adult travelling 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 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 journey is €22. To add insult to injury, these prices do not include further bus use in and around the city.’
While he appreciates that there are some cost-saving options, he feels not enough is being done to provide affordable public services for West Cork commuters.
‘It is not just the excessive prices that make the West Cork public service 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 app, thus negating the usefulness of online top ups.’
Senator Lombard also added that another way to improve the bus services is to reduce the frequent delays.
‘The bus in Kinsale for example is often delayed by up to 20 minutes during the 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,’ said Sen Lombard.
He said 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.’