Ryan's Submission on BusConnect Proposal

28 September 2018

Proposal Summary:

The National Transport Authority’s BusConnect Proposal to redesign the bus networking system within the greater Dublin area details a new approach to the current bus transit services, which are beginning to suffer under the pressure of Dublin’s acute need for rapid infrastructural development. The proposal seeks to address the current problems of low and unstandardized frequency, complexity, poor orbital service, and an exorbitant number of buses going through the City Centre with a plan that utilizes these four tools: (1) standardize service frequency, (2) simplify radial services, (3) build frequent orbitals, and (4) grow suburban feeder networks that support the major routes. The new proposal is based on a “spinal” service which standardizes heavily trafficked radial routes to the City Centre to create more efficient, high-frequency routes that are alphabetically named, helping simplify and clarify the networking system. Furthermore, the proposal relies on interchange hubs that connect neighbourhoods and suburban areas to spinal branches and other major lines of public transportation, such as the LUAS and the DART.

Concerns:

While I support the attempt to overhaul the bus networking service, I have real concerns about how the Dublin-Fingal area will be affected by the new changes proposed. Firstly, most of the towns are losing direct routes to the City Centre, as they have been deemed feeder suburbs with low-frequency routes. The current sixteen routes through Fingal have been reduced to five standard services and five peak services. The major routes I have concerns about are such:

  1. Route 33: Route 285 is replacing this route, which provides service through Skerries, Balbriggan, Rush, and Lusk to the City Centre. This new route, as it is a local feeder route, will now require it’s patrons to connect to the A spine at an interchange hub. Furthermore, the loss of the 33x has raised a lot of concerns within the community.
  2. Route 42: the D1/D spine will replace this route, which provides service from Portmarnock to Talbot Street. However, these new, high frequency routes will completely surpass the Seabury and Portmarnock connections. Seabury’s services will be greatly reduced such that it loses four routes (i.e. 42, 102, 132, and 142).
  3. Route 43: Route 280 and the A2 spinal branch have attempted to replace this route—which provides transport from Swords down Malahide Rd.—but it is not a direct route. However, this is a commonly used commuter route for school children, and many of their parents made school choices based on the availability of this route. With the new proposal, the school children will be required to change buses, and this raises concerns of safety for the children potentially having to cross heavy-traffic roads to walk from one hub to the next.

Proposed changes for the next Draft Plan:

I propose a couple of changes that I believe will address my concerns:

  1. Retain the 33x and 41x express routes, which service Swords, Balbriggan, Skerries, Rush, and Lusk.
  2. Retain the 33D express bus service that serves Donabate and Portrane.
  3. Retain the 43 bus route which will allow school children and their families to smoothly transition to the new route, assuring the safety of the children. It is also the only direct connection for Kinsealy.
  4. Extend the A spinal branches, such that:
    1. There is a direct, high frequency spine from Balbriggan.
    2. The A2 spinal branch continues through the Dublin Airport into Swords.
    3. The A4 spinal branch terminates at Knocksedan.
    4. Examine the A2 and A4 spinal services to extend to the rural villages of Rolestown, Ballyboughal, Oldtown, Garristown and Naul

Conclusion:

            While I have concerns about this proposal, I have more concerns with the current state of the bus network and the apparent need for an overhauling of the design to suit the needs of the rapidly expanding city and it’s neighbouring areas. I believe that change to the bus service network is necessary, and I like how this proposal seeks to promote greater connectivity to get more places at a greater frequency. By attempting to simplify the network and make it more efficient, the proposal will hopefully encourage greater numbers to utilize public transportation instead of private cars, helping reduce harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. I believe that, if the concerns regarding the routes that affect the Dublin-Fingal community and other communities that are greatly impacted by the changes are met, this proposal can radically improve the bus network service in the greater Dublin area.

I look forward to seeing what changes are made in and for another draft plan to be presented for consultation.