Wheelchair accessible bus stops being considered

June 13th, 2020 11:40 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Dunmanway's Sarah Dullea needs buses to be wheelchair-friendly.

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PLANS that suitable locations for disability accessible bus stops for towns in West Cork are to be identified have been welcomed by a local Senator.

Senator Tim Lombard has been calling for disability accessible bus stops to be provided at a minimum in every major town in West Cork due to the fact that there are only three of these bus stops in the whole region.

He said that the lack of these accessible bus stops is leaving many wheelchair users in the area unable to access public transport and are thus being neglected by the current public transport system.

‘There are only three accessible bus stops in West Cork, so local wheelchair users can only catch the bus from either Skibbereen or Kinsale to Cork city but nowhere else or anywhere in between,’ said Sen Lombard.

‘This is completely inadequate, creating further isolation for a group of people already combating insulation and inaccessibility and this is a region that can be remote and isolating, with a lack of public transports options for non-wheelchair users.’

Sen Lombard said wheelchair accessible stops need to be provided, at a minimum in every major town in West Cork.

‘Last year Cork County Council provided 15 accessible stops in East Cork via an NTA (National Transport Authority) funded installation/upgrade programme.

‘I made a submissions to the Council regarding the urgent need to provide wheelchair users in West Cork with adequate, practical public transport options.’

Sen Lombard said he is delighted that the Council is working alongside the NTA and their Local Area Offices have begun to identify suitable locations for the installation of this infrastructure.

‘This is an important step towards supporting neglected people within our community.’

The Southern Star has highlighted in the past the predicament of wheelchair user and beauty therapist, Sarah Dullea.

From Dunmanway, the young woman was unable to travel to Cork city due to the lack of wheelchair accessible buses on routes from West Cork into the city.

Bus Eireann said at the time that the bus stops on the 236 and 237 routes are generally not suitable for the use of the wheelchair lift, which is the system currently used on their coach fleet.

Also wheelchair users must contact Bus Éireann 24 hours in advance to see if it’s possible to use a wheelchair bus on the route they live in.

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