‘I would definitely go out and protest’: anger over BusConnects plan

Access to city centre and to hospitals among concerns raised at consultation meetings

Proposed changes to the Dublin Bus network are an attack on working class communities, according to one attendee at a public meeting in Crumlin on the plan.

Proposed changes to the Dublin Bus network are an attack on working class communities, according to one attendee at a public meeting in Crumlin on the plan.

 

Proposed changes to the Dublin Bus network are an attack on working class communities, a public meeting in Crumlin has heard.

Around 20 residents from the south Dublin suburb heard that the 17 bus route, which travels from Rialto through Kimmage and Crumlin and onto UCD, is to be scrapped. A bus to the Belfield campus, the S4, will instead begin in Ballyfermot, on towards Bluebell and Walkinstown onto Kimmage, Terenure, Milltown and Clonskeagh before terminating at UCD. A separate route, the S2, will travel from St James’s Hospital to Rialto, Kimmage and towards Ranelagh and Donnybrook before terminating at Sandymount.

“It appears they’ve overlooked what we’re trying to do in terms of social inclusion and to encourage our kids to go to university,” said Sinn Féin Senator Máire Devine, who organised the meeting at the Transport Club on Rutland Avenue on Thursday evening along with her party colleague Councillor Ray McHugh.

“There is absolutely a need to transform our city’s transport. There are some pluses in the plan but there are a lot of minuses, especially for people in the Crumlin area.”

Unlike other public meetings being held, this took more of a workshop format whereby residents were dealt with in small groups and representatives went through what their journeys might look like under the new plans using large maps. Residents came and left as they pleased with turnout lower than expected due to wet and windy weather.

Among those present at the meeting was Christy Stedman, from Rutland Grove in Crumlin, who said: “They’re hitting the working class areas all the time, that’s what’s happening.”

Under the new BusConnects plan, current bus numbers would be replaced by a new lettering system from A to G, indicating seven main routes through the city, with buses running every four to eight minutes on these “core corridors”.

Radial bus routes would be supplemented by frequent orbital services, enabling passengers to switch from one bus to another at no extra charge.

The plan acknowledges some bus users who currently have a direct route into the city centre from where they live would have to change buses to reach their destination.

Mr Stedman and his wife Helen said they would be willing to protest over the bus changes.

“I was talking to a bus man last week and he said the people are going to have to go out and march or otherwise they’ll get nowhere. I would, everybody would,” said Ms Stedman.

Myra Kielty (83) from Crumlin village said she’s not overly worried about having to change between buses provided she stays in good health.

“They’re changing all this so I’m just going to have to get used to it,” she said. “The plans seem okay but it is a bit muddled. If I can get used to, hopefully I’ll get going with it.”

Public meetings have been held by local representatives across the city since mid-July, informing residents of changes to their services and advising them to make submissions to the National Transport Authority (NTA) before September 28th.

North of the Liffey, about 70 residents gathered for a meeting in Portmarnock’s Sports and Leisure club on Tuesday evening to discuss the changes.

June McManus, who travels into the city centre on the 32 bus every morning from Malahide said: “ I would definitely go out and protest”.

“Paying for water didn’t bother me, water has to be cleaned,” she said. “But this is about trying to get people into work, students into college, elderly commuters trying to visit their family or get to a hospital.”

Ms McManus, who works for a catering company, arrives into town for 7am each morning to be in work for before 7.30am. Under the new plans, her bus would be replaced by the 60, which would begin at Dublin Airport instead of Portmarnock, and travel along the coast instead of through the Port Tunnel.

“I can’t see any times on this new schedule, I’ve researched it,” she added. “I hear about peak times from 7am until 9am but I have to be in town for 7am.”

Dublin Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien has held eight meetings in the constituency since mid-July with some attracting attendances of 500 people.