The Green Party has welcomed the commencement by the National Transport Authority (NTA) of the long-awaited roll out of two new urban routes in Kilkenny City.
Speaking following the commencement of the service, Green Party Councillor and Local Government Spokesperson, Malcolm Noonan said that he welcomed the commitment by the NTA towards smaller urban centres and that while he was disappointed that it was not an electric or biogas fleet, it would nonetheless be a welcome addition to the town, offering people a viable alternative to the car and giving those without other transport options the ability to travel at a low cost.
“Having campaigned for over a decade for an expanded electric city bus service, I welcome the announcement of routes KK1 and KK2. For too long our smaller urban centres have been ignored and while there is much political discourse about the fate of our town centres, none of it has focused on sustainable urban mobility. We need to change that,” said Cllr Noonan.
He said that the expanded Kilkenny City service, coupled with an ambitious programme to increase the share of walking and cycling, could transform the town centre and offer a template for others to follow.
“We are now working in partnership with a number of local agencies to join the dots and to try to create the first integrated urban and rural service outside of the major urban centres. With the announcement of the European Green Deal this week, we are of the view that our rural communities cannot be forgotten in the just transition and that the issue of transport justice must be prioritised by offering people living in rural areas the options to stay and be freely able to travel to work, education, training and socialising.”
Cllr Noonan said that by developing a network of park and ride facilities on the periphery of the city, that rural buses could meet the city bus with passengers being able to use a single leap card for both journeys.
“Kilkenny is disproportionately busy due to it being a high tourism destination. We have made poor decisions in the past such as the Central Access Scheme which have failed to address traffic growth. This affects urban air quality as well as adding to our climate woes. I would hope that with the roll out of our new city service that we can turn this narrative around and make Kilkenny Ireland’s first low carbon transport city,” he concluded.
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