Dublin's Bus system could be set for complete redevelopment

The NTA is calling on members of the public to provide input on the new plans

Dublin's Bus system could be set for complete redevelopment

File Photo, buses in Dublin city centre. Image: Graham Hughes/RollingNews

Members of the public are being asked for their opinion on Dublin city’s bus services ahead of a proposed €1bn upgrade to the network.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has launched a new report on the system this morning and is calling on the public to put forward their ideas on what is working well – and what could work better into the future.

The route changes are part of the wider ‘BusConnects’ re-development of the system that will include plans for a completely cashless system, the introduction of new ‘rapid buses,’ new park and ride facilities and a plan to ensure half the fleet is made up of low emission vehicles by 2023.

Among the proposals, launched this morning, are a greater number of radial routes around the city, with a number of new main corridors into the city centre.

While the plan aims to make it easier to travel across different suburban centres without entering the city centre itself – it is likely to lead to a greater number of interchanges, meaning passengers could have to take two buses to get where they want to go.

Modern network

The report has been prepared by Jarrett Walker & Associates, a US-based firm which specialises in designing metropolitan public transport systems.

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Mr Walker outlined the thinking behind the new plans:

“The way they are now is that – for understandable historical reasons – you have a bus network that almost all goes to Dublin city centre,” He said.

“It is very difficult to make suburb to suburb trips, particularly within the same side of the city like Tallaght to Dundrum or Santry to Blanchardstown.

“These types of trips are very difficult because the system is so overwhelmingly [orientated] toward the city centre.”

Public consultation

The Choices Report reviews the structure of the existing bus network and proposes a range of new strategies to address any current issues. The public can provide input through an online web survey that was launched today.

NTA chief executive Anne Graham has said that the route changes are currently only at consultation and discussion phase adding “nothing in the report should be construed as a proposal.”

She told Newstalk that now is the time for passengers to say whether or not they are in favour.

“We are asking the public to consider what those options are and to give us that feedback on whether they are willing to make more interchanges – to have [...] a faster journey but also to get to more places on their bus network as well,” she said.

Transport planning specialist Jarrett Walker briefing media on publication of the ‘Choices Report’ on Bus Services in Dublin, 06-06-2017. Image:  RollingNews

Mr Walker told Pat Kenny that while there are “very, very frequent” buses travelling in and out of the city centre, there are “a number of issues” with the network:

“One is that buses are not always full coming into and going out of the city and there are enormous numbers of buses in the CBD (Central Business District),” he said.

“There are probably more buses than there needs to be to actually serve everyone and provide the capacity.”

He said the “one central issue” planners are facing is that, “the cost-effective way to create a bus system that serves more people and gets them more places sooner involves asking people to change buses more often.”

“That is the essence of the challenge,” he said.

The public consultation process commences today 6th June and submissions should be made before 5pm on Friday 7th July.