People in north county Dublin are on a final written warning from their employers because they are “late all the time” due to the unreliability of bus services, the Dáil has heard.
Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly said in her constituency of Dublin Fingal many mornings parents are forced to drive their children to school because the bus does not turn up.
Ms O’Reilly said “disappearing buses” were undermining confidence people have in public transport and were using their cars as a result.
“They get let down by the bus time and time again, with no choice then but to join all of the traffic heading down the M1 in the morning, contributing to carbon emissions and doing things that they do not want to have to do but are left with no choice,” she said.
The Dublin Fingal TD referenced a number of bus routes that had been cancelled frequently such as the 33 and 33X.
“The knock-on impact for workers waiting on those buses is of course they are late for work,” she said.
“I have spoken to people who were on a final written warning in their workplace simply because they are late all the time. It is not their fault. They have to rely on the bus.
“The start time of the Sunday bus service does not suit workers who work in the airport, which many of my constituents do.
“Again, they are forced to get into their cars. The 14.47pm 33A [route] from Lusk to Swords is cancelled most Fridays. I get emails about it, that bus service does not seem to run at all and yet there is a real demand for that bus service.”
Ms O’Reilly said she had already written to the Minister for Transport regarding the issue and “yet the Government chose to award the contract again to GoAhead, when it seems to be the primary offender in my area”.
“It has happened to me many times as well. The bus is up on the display. You stand there and wait, and then the bus disappears off the display and you have no idea when the bus will come,” she added.
The Sinn Féin TD also said that sometimes the issue was that buses were full and “bizarrely” some routes in her area had been changed from “double deck to single deck [buses] and are now rammed with people”.
“They are leaving people waiting on the side of the road,” Ms O’Reilly said.
In response, Minister of State Josepha Madigan said the BusConnects programme in Dublin will provide more sustainable, accessible and reliable transport options, “resulting in higher quality service”.
However, Ms Madigan noted there were some delays with the rollout of the new network redesign under the plan due to Covid-19 and driver recruitment.
“Just more recently, work on the construction of the core bus corridors had to be postponed due to delays at An Bord Pleanála,” she added.
“Because of these delays, construction of the Clongriffin core bus corridor, the first scheme expected to go to gateway decision two in 2023, has been pushed back to 2024.”