Loss of Rural Transport role a huge blow to North Cork

This week’s announcement that the contract for rural transport for Co. Cork has been awarded to West Cork Rural Transport Scheme, based in Bantry, has been described as a devastating blow for North Cork, where IRD Duhallow and Avondhu Blackwater Partnership LTD have both operated the service since 2003.

Cllr. John Paul O’Shea said the decision to axe the operation of the rural transport service in North Cork with the loss of local jobs must be “fought and [the service] retained. The aim of this service is to provide an integrated accessible and affordable public transport service that links individuals living in rural communities with local services and facilities. It is used by young and old on a weekly basis, carrying in excess of 90,000 pass-engers annually throughout North Cork.

“The loss of contracts to operate the rural transport service for both IRD Duhallow and Avondhu Blackwater Partnership is a devastating blow. I have always said that the county of Cork is too large for one rural transport service. It needs to be divided up on a divisional basis like the county council is for operational and local knowledge purposes. It will be extremely hard, if not impossible, to operate a service such as the rural transport from any one location in the county.”

Cllr O’Shea called on the government to request the National Transport Authority (NTA) to reconsider their decision to allocate the rural transport service to only one company in Cork, and at the very least to consider two companies and two operational areas for this service. He added: “The size and geographics of the county of Cork is very different compared to other counties, and I would have a serious concern that the people of North Cork will be forgotten about in this process. There was a great sense of local involvement in the existing service with local bus and taxi companies who know the local area operating the routes and local staff managing and assisting passengers. This will all be lost come March, and the users of the rural transport service will be the losers, there is no doubt about this.

“IRD Duhallow and Avondhu Blackwater Partnership deliver many local vital services, and I can only see this as another attack on these companies and a further dilution of their current services. This government is threatening the very existence of these local companies by withdrawing services such as the rural transport. The government cannot be left change a proven, tried and tested system which is working so efficiently. We must as a community resist these changes and fight for the retention of a rural transport service operating from a North Cork base into the future.”