Ireland’s National Transport Authority has announced that €600 million will be invested in public transport in Cork in a bid to expand public transport links, as well as improve sustainability.
Twelve new transport corridors will be developed, with the intention to increase the use of public transport in Cork by four times. There are also aims to increase the amount of people walking and cycling through the city by one third.
The €600 million investment will be partly used to create 75 kilometres of new bus lanes to the north, west and south of Cork, along with 54 kilometres of new cycling and walking paths.
The National Transport Authority has claimed that as a result of the investment, bus journey times will decrease by 50%, with the implementation of 12 “sustainable transport corridors”.
Cork to be boosted by major investment in public transport
The non-commercial National Transport Authority operates under the Department of Transport, and is responsible for “developing and implementing strategies to provide high quality, accessible, sustainable transport across Ireland”, as reported by RTE.
The National Transport Authority aims to improve bus services in Cork’s centre and suburbs, via the BusConnects Cork project. The programme will expand Cork City’s public transport infrastructure and ensure that these services will transition to having net-zero emissions.
BusConnects Cork Sustainable Transport Corridors Report
The announcement for investment comes as the National Transport Authority published the BusConnects Cork Sustainable Transport Corridors Report. The report outlined the principles of the National Transport Authority, as well as how Sustainable Transport Corridors will serve as a benefit to everyday people. It has been reported that the corridors will improve bus journey times and increase the number of people walking and cycling into Cork.
That is just one of nine key initiatives of the BusConnects Cork project, which the National Transport Authority claims it will completely transform the city’s bus network, and make public transport more accessible to the public.
Part of improvements include re-designing the bus routes network, and ensuring there is a transition to a zero-emissions bus service. A new ticketing system has also been discussed.
Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy
The National Transport Authority has claimed the Sustainable Transport Corridors are part of a wider Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy. This was developed as part of a collaboration between Cork City Council and Cork County Council, with the intention to increase the amount of people using public transport by four times by 2040. There is another goal to expand the number of people walking and cycling by 33%.
Among the proposed routes in the Sustainable Transport Corridors system include Blackpool to Cork City Centre and Maryborough Hill to Cork City Centre. That said, the National Transport Authority explained that a more in-depth set of proposals will be shared for public consultation during June 2022. That entails public engagement, permitting the public to give feedback, along with local insight regarding the new proposals.
Community forums will apparently be established to engage locals and groups for respective routes and their surrounding areas. More details on said community forums will be announced in June 2022.
Speaking about the project Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “As one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, Cork has a unique opportunity to become a leader in sustainable transport. BusConnects Cork is key to making public transport and active travel a viable option for people and communities across the city”.
NTA Chief Executive Anne Graham added: “With a 51% increase in the numbers taking the bus in just six years, there is a rapidly growing demand for bus services and the need for modern infrastructure to support Cork’s growth”.