Q&A: How the Dublin Bus changes will affect you and your commute
Everything you need to know about the proposed Dublin Bus network revamp
Number 44 bus in Enniskerry: Almost all the routes in the new plan have been tweaked.
What is the Dublin Area Bus Network Redesign?
It is a reassessment of all the current bus routes in Dublin in an attempt to create a new more coherent service for the capital that will eliminate overlapping routes and improve journey times.
Why is it being done?
There has never been a complete overhaul of the capital’s bus services before. As the city has expanded, new bus services have been added into the network, and some routes have been scrapped over the years, but these changes have been piecemeal and reactive, and no one before has sat down and looked at how the overall system works.
How will it work?
At its most basic level the existing route numbering system for all buses will be scrapped. A new lettering system from A to H will identify eight “spines” though the city, with buses running every four to eight minutes. Numbers would be used to indicate different branches of a spine; for example while all A buses would pass through Terenure, the A1 would continue to Knocklyon while the A2 would go to Tallaght.
So it’s just replacing numbers with letters?
There’s more. There would also be 10 new orbital services, not running through the city centre, that would also run frequently. Currently orbital services in Dublin are very limited, with passengers often having to travel into the city and then return in a similar direction to access a neighbouring suburb. A high frequency inner orbital route, line O would run on a loop between the canals to enable fast travel around the city centre.
At the outer edges of the city, beyond the M50, infrequent, slow radial routes running all the way into the centre would be scrapped and replaced by short, frequent local routes that would feed into the spines that do serve the city.
Wait this is all starting to sound very familiar?
The NTA published this plan in July 2018 and then opened it to public consultation. On the basis of those submissions they have produced a revised design.
So was it popular?
It was not. Almost 50,000 people made submissions in relation to the plan, including almost every politician in Dublin among them Minister for Transport Shane Ross. Most of the submissions could be defined as objections or complaints. Almost 45 per cent of people complained about the loss of existing service; 26 per cent complained about having to change buses; 25 per cent raised concerns about the impact on the elderly or people with disabilities; 18 per cent said there would additional inconvenience, ie having to walk further to a bus stop.
How has the NTA responded?
Almost all the routes in the plan have been tweaked to some degree. The biggest change is an increase in direct routes to the city so people won’t have to change buses to get into town. In the 2018 plan up to 15 per cent of direct services were being lost, that’s now down to just 5 per cent. Routes to schools, hospitals or shops have also been reinstated and in some cases increased.
And what about the trees?
The proposals for felling trees or acquiring parts of front gardens or restricting private cars, are not part of the redesign plans. They relate to the introduction of 16 core bus corridors, with continuous segregated bus and cycle lanes. It’s confusing because both projects are part of the overall BusConnects strategy.
So are these now the final plans for the redesign?
The NTA will hold a final round of public consultation until December 3rd before finalising the plan which will be implemented in 2021 and 2023.