Since my wife began working in Cork last year and a number of students have contacted me, I have been looking at the public bus service to Cork from Kilkenny and vice versa. Putting it mildly, the service is poor. As a supporter of public transport, I believe it is crazy for our national bus company to effectively make it more difficult to travel by public transport than by car.
Because of our mad radial train service where all lines radiate from Dublin and there are no connections in between, getting from Kilkenny to anywhere except Waterford and Dublin and points in between is not an option. To get to Cork or Kerry for instance you have to find your way to Thurles to the nearest train connection.
Back to the bus service which is the only option to Cork, the timetable is extraordinary. From Monday to Saturday, the fastest bus journey is 2 hours and 50 minutes, and that's only once a day in the morning. It arrives in Cork at 9.50 am, too late for work or for any half-conscienscious students. The other three journeys take between 3 hours and 5 minutes and an extraordinary 3 hours and 50 minutes.
At the weekend it's worse with the fastest journey taking 3 hours and 5 minutes, this the Sunday evening service most likely to be used by students. The reason for much of this is the decision to route the journey through rural South Tipperary. Putting it bluntly, the service is used to provide the people of Clogheen and Ballyporeen with a service. As a long-time rural activist I always support the provision of rural services, but surely it makes no sense to divert what should be an inter-city bus route through a rural hinterland, thus losing business in the process.
The campaign to change this begins now. I have just launched an online petition campaign to support a motion I have placed before Kilkenny Borough Council, calling on Bus Éireann to substantially improve the service. Please sign the petition here, and encourage your friends to do so also. If you're a UCC student, or a CIT student or you travel to work in Cork or from Cork to Kilkenny, please support the campaign. You could take up a petition in your college or workplace. I will begin campaigning amongst existing bus users this weekend. Please spread the word today