Viability of BusConnects plan questioned by Fine Gael TD

Kate O’Connell says transport plan for Dublin will have irreversible consequences

BusConnects aims to overhaul Dublin bus system by creating 230km of dedicated bus lanes. Photograph: Alan Betson

BusConnects aims to overhaul Dublin bus system by creating 230km of dedicated bus lanes. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A Fine Gael TD has questioned time savings anticipated under the BusConnects plan and claimed it lacks the “creative vision” needed to address the growing transport needs in Dublin.

Kate O’Connell has written to the National Transport Authority (NTA) stating that the use of road widening as the mechanism to create greater capacity is a “short-term solution with lasting, irreversible consequences”.

A number of proposed corridors under the plans would run directly through Ms O’Connell’s constituency in Dublin Bay South.

“Hundreds of people have made representations to my office, outlining their dissatisfaction and unhappiness with the BusConnects proposals, with only a handful of people contacting me to register their satisfaction with the plans,” her 14-page submission says.

BusConnects aims to overhaul the current bus system in the Dublin region by creating 230km of dedicated bus lanes and 200km of cycle tracks along 16 of the busiest corridors, along with a redesign of the network. The €1billion plan is part of the Government’s Project 2040.

The NTA has said the project will deliver journey time savings of up to 50 per cent on each corridor. It has published feasibility reports alongside each of the proposed corridors with journey time savings outlined.

Ms O’Connell said junctions that cannot be widened will continue to be pinch points even if the BusConnects plan is implemented in full.

Kate O’Connell TD. Photograph: Alan Betson
Kate O’Connell TD. Photograph: Alan Betson

Time savings

“Funnelling traffic into Victorian villages will choke the routes incrementally and negate many of the expected time savings,” she said.

Ms O’Connell also said it is “not solely about the financial cost” for property owners who may lose part of their front gardens under the plans but the cost to “the quality of their lives, their long-term plans and their communities”.

“Insofar as the alleged benefits, those can only be realised if many variables happen on schedule and are integrated seamlessly – something I have little faith would happen,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the NTA said it would not be commenting on individual submissions and that all submissions will be “read and reviewed” in the coming months.

Separately, the National Transport Authority said it has had “several requests” to do more in terms of informing people more widely about BusConnects.

The NTA recently launched an advertising campaign to increase awareness of the proposed bus plan and its benefits with posters appearing at bus shelters and on buses.

Fine Gael councillor Anne Feeney wrote to the NTA last month asking the purpose of the campaign and its associated costs.

BusConnects

In its response to the Rathgar-Rathmines councillor, the NTA said: “We have had several requests to do more in terms of informing people more widely about BusConnects.

“This campaign contributes to that objective by raising general public awareness, including commuters across the Greater Dublin area.”

The NTA said requests came from the public, local representatives and resident associations and had been raised a number of times at information events and community forums.

More than 50 residents from Rathgar and Terenure also complained to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) in relation to the advertising last month.

The residents claimed there are “inaccurate and/or misleading elements” of the advertising campaign.

The ASAI said it would not be investigating the complaint as the advertising in question is “not commercial” and therefore falls outside its remit.