Union denies putting out misinformation about BusConnects plan

Head of network redesign accuses union of ‘putting out alarming minsinformation’

Dermot O’Leary says that NBRU members have a right to be involved in Bus Connects discussions. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Dermot O’Leary says that NBRU members have a right to be involved in Bus Connects discussions. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), Dermot O’Leary says that his members have a right to be involved in BusConnects discussions.

He was responding to comments last week by the lead design consultant of the bus network redesign, Jarret Walker, who had accused the union of “putting out alarming and misleading misinformation.”

The new BusConnects draft plan has been criticised for proposals to cancel 8 per cent of direct routes.

Mr Walker says that despite the cancellation of the direct routes, travel times will be quicker.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast last Friday, Mr Walker said: “They have been going around telling people that your route is gone when in fact your route is just renumbered and changed in some way and so a lot of people have been needless alarmed and needlessly frightened.”

Mr O’Leary denied that the union is spreading misinformation. “Jarret Walker is a gun for hire. He was hired by the NTA. He’s a bit precious about his plan.”

Public consultations about the BusConnects redesign plan are being held across the city to allow the public view the plan and express their concerns.

“We’re seeing it in the responses and at public meetings. If all I knew about this plan was from the National Rail and Bus Union I would be furious too. People have to find out about the plan for themselves.

“That’s why NTA has been doing this series of meetings, so you can learn about the plan. The important thing is for people to go to busconnects.ie and learn about the plan for yourself and tell us what you think,” said Mr Walker.

However, Mr O’Leary explained that the NBRU had been invited to participate in a number of public meetings organised by concerned community groups.

“We have not organised any public meetings. Yes, they invited us to speak. The people who invited us chaired those meetings.”

Mr O’Leary said that people appreciated the drivers’ views and they had a right to express them as they too were stakeholders in the future of the city’s bus services.

He added that the NBRU would love to work with the planners of the redesign and felt it was unfair they were coming in for criticism for expressing their opinions.

“Drivers know the problems of the network. Taking down direct routes will cause more problems. The Minister understands and acknowledges that we have a role to play.

“Groups like us have a role to play as stakeholders.”