Additional services to hospitals are understood to be included in revised plans for the redesign of the Dublin Bus network, due to be published on Tuesday by the National Transport Authority.
The authority in July last year produced plans for the first complete overhaul of the capital’s bus services, promising more frequent buses and a faster service. But to achieve this a number of journeys which are now direct would involve bus changes and there would be greater distances to stops for some passengers.
The proposed network, designed for the authority by US transport planner Jarrett Walker, was due in place at the end of this year. But four months ago the authority announced it would be implemented between 2021 and 2023, to ensure "a manageable level of change for customers and bus operators".
Almost 50,000 people made submissions to the authority on the redesign proposals over the last year, 30,000 of them were “unique” with 20,000 in the form of petitions or template letters.
Several politicians also made submissions to the authority, including Minister for Transport Shane Ross who complained the changes threatened to cut off his constituents from schools, hospitals and the city centre.
The authority said it has been working with local communities over the last year to identify possible solutions and it is understood has been able to make changes to address specific local concerns which would make a significant difference to those communities without compromising the overall strategy or design of the network.
More services running to hospitals are understood to be included in the revised plans.
What is the Walker plan?
Mr Walker has previously warned that the network he has designed is “extremely interdependent” and only minor changes could be made or it would “fall apart”.
His plan envisages scrapping all existing route numbers and replacement with a lettering system, along with the creation of orbital and local “feeder” routes.
Overall bus services would increase by more than a quarter, according to the authority. Almost one million people will be within 400m of a bus service operating every 15 minutes or better, an increase of about 30 per cent on current numbers, while 650,000 will be within 400m of a service operating every 10 minutes or better, an increase of 35 per cent, claim the authority.
The redesign is part of the BusConnects strategy, which also involves the introduction of 16 core bus corridors, with continuous segregated bus and cycle lanes. This part of the strategy – which could require the acquisition of parts of front gardens and felling of trees, or restrictions on private cars – has proved contentious in parts of the city. The revised corridor plans will not be published until later this year.