Redesign of Dublin Bus network to begin in June

Service to be overhauled rather than cut, National Transport Authority insists

Dublin Bus buses at Conyngham Road:  “A lot of our bus routes date from, and are based on, the route of the old trams,” a spokesman for the National Transport Authority said.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Dublin Bus buses at Conyngham Road: “A lot of our bus routes date from, and are based on, the route of the old trams,” a spokesman for the National Transport Authority said. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A complete reorganisation of the Dublin Bus network, which could see decades-old bus routes axed and new ones introduced, is to get under way this summer.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has engaged US-based transport consultants Jarrett Walker to undertake a full redesign of Dublin bus routes, the first complete overhaul of the network in its history.

The redesign has been sought 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.

The review is not a cost-saving exercise and no passengers will be left without a service, the NTA said.

“The objective of the review and redesign will be to increase bus patronage and improve the efficiency of the overall bus network across the Dublin area, as well as ensuring appropriate integration with the other imminent transport developments.”

Mr Walker will hold meetings with each of the four Dublin local authorities next month before a six- to eight-week public consultation process begins. The redesign of the network will be completed by the end of the year, with implementation to start in the first half of 2018.

‘Radial system’

The review will encompass all 99 Dublin Bus daytime routes, 13 “X” routes, which are limited-stop versions of certain daytime routes, and 18 Nitelink routes.

“There has been a lot of emphasis over the years on the overreliance of the network on the radial system with all routes leading to the city centre. A lot of our bus routes date from, and are based on, the route of the old trams, ” a spokesman for the NTA said.

“The review will focus on people’s transport needs. Would people prefer buses with less frequent stops, which get them to their destination faster, to a bus nearer their front door? How can we facilitate transfers between bus routes and between buses and trains? Every bus route will be reviewed to see how its working.”

The redesign will be the first major review of the network since Dublin Bus announced its Network Direct programme in 2010. Unlike the new review, Network Direct was a cost-reduction programme designed to save the company €12 million. A number of routes were amalgamated leading to protests in some communities.

The network redesign is one of a range of measures designed to improve bus services the NTA plans to publish later this month. The authority plans to increase the number of bus “priority” routes, where buses have dedicated lanes or traffic light priority, to move to a cashless payment model, and to improve passenger information at stops.

It will also outline progress towards developing a Bus Rapid Transit system, first announced three years ago, which would see high capacity services on three routes: Blanchardstown to UCD, Clongriffin to Tallaght, and Swords to City Centre.