THE Green Party in West Cork have welcomed a new private bus route that services towns in the county from Skibbereen to the city centre, after the issue of transport came up consistently on doorsteps during general election canvassing.
Cork South West representative Bernie Connolly said it is a real challenge for people in West Cork to change behaviour in how they travel without having an alternative.
‘It is great to see the new West Cork Connect service commence, offering an extra three services to and from the city on weekdays, with two services on both days over the weekend.
‘If you live in rural areas such as West Cork, buses need to be more frequent and they need to be affordable to support people from the transition from private cars to alternatives and buses are the only viable option in an area that lacks any train service.’
She said that a bus from Skibbereen into the city with Bus Eireann will set you back around €30 for a return ticket, but that the same ticket on the private service is about €18 at present.
The West Cork Connect service, which began running in February, serves Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Bandon, with stops in Leap, Connonagh, Rosscarbery, Lisavaird, Ballinascarthy and Innishannon along the way. The bus stops in the CUH and the Western Road, with the last stop being St Patrick’s Quay in Cork city centre.
However, Bernie said there was still room for improvement.
‘There needs to be more investment to properly service even the main routes through the primary towns and villages on the route.
‘The main towns would also be served well by having designated Park ‘n’ Ride facilities and increased services to complement what is already on offer through Bus Eireann, Local Link and now West Cork Connect.’
Meanwhile, a visitor to Skibbereen Heritage Centre has revealed another interesting local transport story.
David Charles Hutchins has told how his grandfather Walter Charles Kindred, who set up a sawmill business on Ilen St in the current Southern Star building back in the early 1900s, also set up the first bus service between Skibbereen and Cork, the Carbery Bus, which ran until 1937.