Minster for Transport Shane Ross has complained to the National Transport Authority (NTA) about plans to reform Dublin's bus services, warning that it threatens to cut off his constituents from schools, hospitals and the city centre.
He said the BusConnects proposal was distressing people who would lose a direct commute, causing fears among parents about their children going to school and many of them were now planning to drive their children.
In addition, Glencullen village would have no public transport at all, complained the Dublin Rathdown TD in his submission to the public consultation on the planned overhaul of Dublin's bus network.
Saying that he represented a dozen districts that would lose out, Mr Ross said Upper Kilmacud Road would not have a service, affecting residents in Birchfield, Knocknashee, Holywell, Lakelands, Stillorgan Wood and Marsham Court.
"In addition, St Benildus Secondary School is located on the Upper Kilmacud Road and St Raphaela's Secondary School is located just off it," he wrote. "Many pupils in both St Benildus and St Raphaela's are from the Ballinteer/ Dundrum area and many parents have raised concerns that their children will no longer have a direct bus to school."
People living on Brehon Field Road in Ballinteer – currently served by the number 16 bus – are concerned that they "will no longer have a bus that goes directly into the city centre and to Dublin Airport", he said.
Stepaside is set to lose a direct route to Dundrum and the city centre, according to Mr Ross, who has asked the NTA to "please consider extending" another route to nearby Kilternan, as it would be "beneficial to a lot of people in the area who rely on this bus route".
Ticknock residents are "distressed" about losing a link to Sandyford, wrote the Minister, where many work or get a link to the Dart in Blackrock. Meanwhile, parents are concerned about losing the number 114 bus, used by children to get to the Queen of Angels NS, Wedgewood.
The Backglen Road from Lamb Doyle’s pub is not pedestrianised and “so is not safe for pedestrians to use”, the Minister for Transport said. “Residents fear they will have to resort to using their cars.”
Residents in Kilcross and Sandyford Village will lose a frequently used bus to Blackrock Dart station and Newtown Park Avenue, while those in Sandyford fear the loss of a direct link to Dundrum and the city centre.
The threat to Glencullen was particularly worrying, he said. “It is important this oversight be reviewed so the residents of Glencullen, Ballyedmonduff and Barnacullia are not isolated. This is vital for the local community.”
Impact on businesses
Residents of Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, fear that they will lose an existing route to Dundrum, the city centre and Dublin City University, which will "negatively impact" on local businesses and residents.
Signing off on his submission to the NTA, Mr Ross said: “I would greatly appreciate if you could examine the concerns outlined above as part of your review of the current draft plan.”
The board of the State agency NTA, which has hired US transport consultancy Jarrett Walker and Associates to head the €2 billion BusConnects overhaul, is directly answerable to Mr Ross, as Minister for Transport.
Last month, Mr Ross told a residents’ association meeting in his constituency he had nothing to do with the BusConnects plan and had no responsibility for the NTA, according to people present.
Earlier that day, the Minister had defended the plan in the Dáil , saying “the changes are necessary and people will come to accept them because they will get them from one place to another much more quickly”.
A revised plan is to be published next year after 20,000 submissions made during the first phase of a public consultation, which closed at the end of September, are considered by the NTA.