‘False information’ about Dublin Bus redesign slated by planner

TDs, union officials say some communities will be worse off following network redesign

The Dublin Bus network redesign sees the replacement of all existing route numbers with a simplified lettering system. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Dublin Bus network redesign sees the replacement of all existing route numbers with a simplified lettering system. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The US transport planner behind the redesign of the Dublin Bus network has hit back at TDs and union officials for spreading “false information” about the proposed new service.

Jarrett Walker, who has redrawn the network for the National Transport Authority, has urged bus users to “beware of rumours” about the changes to routes and read the redesign planswhich are currently open to public submissions.

The redesign sees the scrapping of all existing route numbers, and their replacement with a simplified lettering system, along with the creation of new orbital and local “feeder” bus routes.

Mr Walker’s comments follow complaints last week at an Oireachtas Transport Committee about the plans.

Outskirts

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said commuters on the outskirts of the capital would be “the real losers” under the plan. “The further you get from the city the greater the loss is,” she said.

Independents4Change TD Joan Collins said bus users in working-class areas would have worse services than those living in in Rathmines and Rathgar. Double-decker buses with 99 people on them travelling in or out from the city centre will link up with smaller buses for the orbital routes that will only be able to take 28 passengers, she said.

The committee heard from National Bus and Railworkers’ Union general secretary Dermot O’Leary who said the changes would end many direct services to the city centre and damage services to working-class communities.

Mr Walker said these comments showed a fundamental misunderstanding of how the new network would operate.

“Unfortunately, in the first weeks since the plan was released, we’ve seen lots of false information circulating about it, including in statements put out by some people commenting on the report,” he said.

“A big idea is that most services into the city centre would be organised into spines with branches. So for example, the A Spine, going south from the city centre toward Terenure, is made up of buses marked A1, A2, A3, and A4. Any “A” bus will go to Terenure, but after that, A1 continues toward Knocklyon, A2 continues toward Tallaght, and so on. So every bus on every branch still has direct service to the city centre.”

‘Insanely complex’

The current inner city bus network was “insanely complex”, he said. “Do you want to get from the city centre to Rathgar? Then you need to know you could use the 14, 15, 15a, 15b, 65b, 83, 83a. In the new network, you just remember A, because all the A buses do that, no matter which number is after the letter.”

However, there were “trade-offs”, he said. “Some trips require an interchange that do not today, although shorter waiting times mean these trips can be faster than they are now.” The system would create a more efficient network for inner Dublin “while still serving many suburban areas directly”, he said.

The plans are available to view at busconnects.ie. “We want everyone’s comments on the plan, but first, make sure you understand it.”