Dublin housing estates to lose bus services, claims NBRU

Bus and rail union fears review of transport will cut routes and just feed Luas and Dart

 National Bus and Rail Union’s Dermot O’Leary: claims “substantial core routes will become nothing more than feeder buses for an already overcrowded Dart and Luas service”.  Photograph: Alan Betson

National Bus and Rail Union’s Dermot O’Leary: claims “substantial core routes will become nothing more than feeder buses for an already overcrowded Dart and Luas service”. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Entire housing estates in Dublin will lose bus routes, and be reduced to peak-time services only, under plans for the reorganisation of the Dublin Bus network, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) has claimed.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is undertaking a full reorganisation of Dublin Bus services, which could see existing bus routes axed and new ones introduced.

The Bus Network Review, which got under way last June, is being undertaken to reflect the major transport changes in the city, including the introduction later this year of the Luas Cross City line, the opening of the Phoenix Park tunnel, as well as recent and upcoming changes to the road network.

US-based transport consultants Jarrett Walker have been engaged to redesign the routes, in what is the first complete overhaul of the Dublin Bus network.

Feeder buses

In a letter to Minister for Transport Shane Ross in recent days, NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said that “whole estates are slated to have peak services only” and “substantial core routes will become nothing more than feeder buses for an already overcrowded Dart and Luas service”.

The record of the consultants involved was one of “stripping buses from housing estates and replacing them with shuttle buses to connect with main [straight line] corridors,” Mr O’Leary said.

Mr O’Leary told The Irish Times he was not in a position to say how he had secured information about the ongoing network review, but he said he was confident of its accuracy.

‘Fractured’ communities

“Communities will be fractured and people will have to walk long distances to bus stops if this goes ahead,” he said. “We will join communities in opposing any such move and we would not rule out any sort of action at this stage.”

A spokesman for the NTA said work on the network review was ongoing.

“Any suggestion that a decision has been made to strip bus services from estates would be incorrect,” he said. “A draft plan will be completed in the first quarter of 2018 and will be put out for public consultation at that stage.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Ross said she was not in a position to answer questions on the matter.

The network review is part of a €1 billion “Bus Connects” plan for the redevelopment of bus services including the implementation of a cashless payment system; simplification of the fare structure to allow movement between different transport services without financial penalty; and the segregation of buses from general traffic on the busiest routes to and around the city.