Moynihan - improved public transport needed to take more cars off the roads
If the Government is truly taking the issue of the environment seriously it needs to improve public transport commuter links in order to take more cars off the road.
That's the view of Cork North West Fianna Fail TD Aindrias Moynihan, who has specifically raised the issue of the 233 Macroom bus route with Transport Minister Shane Ross on the floor of Dáil Eireann.
Deputy Moynihan urged Minister Ross to ensure that planned improvements to the Macroom-Cork commuter corridor are implemented without any "unnecessary delays".
He pointed out that the 233 service, for example, served a wide catchment area from Ballincollig up the Lee Valley to Macroom and westward to Ballingeary.
"There is no question but that we need to be encouraging more people to leave the car at home and start using public transport more frequently. However, we need to see radical improvements to services in Cork like the 233 so that people can view it as a viable alternative to using the car to travel to work or college," said Deputy Moynihan.
"The public are becoming more environmentally aware and I genuinely believe that many people heading into the city every day would use the bus with greater frequency if the service was more available as the current timetable is too limited," he added.
In his reply Minister Ross pointed out that while he did have overall responsibility for policy and overall funding of public transport, he was not directly involved in its day-to-day running saying that in this particular case that was the remit of Bus Éireann.
He said the company, in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA) was planning to implement improvements to bus services in Cork during 2019, including those on the Macroom-Cork corridor.
Deputy Moynihan said that while he welcomed the reply from Minister Ross, they did little to assuage his concerns over the potential for delays to the roll-out of the plan.
"In the past we have had issues, particularly with the 220 Ballincollig route, whereby Bus Éireann was planning service improvements but these were delayed by the NTA," he said.
Deputy Moynihan went on to say that as the NTA was answerable to Minister Ross must ensure expansion of the 233 route, which also covers Kilmurry, Crookstown, Cloghduv, Aherla, Ovens and Ballincollig does progress this year.
"We need to ensure that there is an extended timetable so that people have options to commute in and out of the city for work. An extended service is also needed on the route through Coachford, as well as to and from Ballingeary and Inchigeelagh as the current service falls far short of what's needed," he said.
"I have asked Minister Ross to press the importance of these route upgrades with the NTA so that the improved services can be rolled out as speedily as possible" he concluded.