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  • Southside

Long wait ahead for revised Bus Connects plan

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018 8:00am

Story by Neil Fetherstonhaugh
Long wait ahead for revised Bus Connects plan

A revised BusConnects plan will be unveiled next year.

Long wait ahead for revised Bus Connects plan

A revised BusConnects plan will be unveiled next year.

WHILE a majority of Dublin businesses have thrown their support behind the ambitious BusConnects plan, there remain serious concerns among locals across some Southside suburbs.

In a submission to the National Transport Authority (NTA), filed ahead of the consultation deadline, Dublin Chamber, which represents 1,300 businesses, said a “re-wiring” of the city’s bus network was urgently required.

A survey of around 200 of its members in early September found that 79 per cent were in favour of the plan, the Chamber said.

According to Dublin Chamber’s Head of Public Affairs, Graeme McQueen: “The initial BusConnects plan is far from perfect, but there is a huge amount in there that’s potentially very positive for the public transport network.

“Sadly, much of that has been lost amongst the huge amount of scaremongering and politically-motivated noise in recent months. The fact is, Dublin’s existing bus network is no longer fit for purpose, with commuters facing lengthy and inconsistent journey times on a daily basis. This is eroding the attractiveness of the bus and exacerbating Dublin’s chronic congestion problem.”

Clondalkin Labour councillor, Breeda Bonner, said she had made a major submission on the BusConnects plan about what she felt were shortcomings in its proposals for the Clondalkin, Rathcoole and Newcastle areas.

Among the shortcomings she highlighted is the need for a feeder bus to the Clondalkin/ Fonthill Rail Station so that people in Clondalkin and Lucan can avail of the new train services that bring people into the city centre at Connolly Station and beyond.

“At 20 minutes from Clondalkin to Connolly this is by far the quickest way to make this journey and should be widely available,” the councillor stated.

Cllr Bonner also called for a continued bus service between Rathcoole and Clondalkin, in part because many school students avail of such a service.

“It is vital that BusConnects takes seriously the many thousands of submissions it has received from the public,” she added. “While there are many positives in the proposals, such as transferable tickets from one bus to another and more frequent buses on major routes, there are glaring shortcomings which must be addressed.”

Deputy Eoin Ó Broin (SF) also made a detailed submission.

“During our public meetings we fielded a large volume of questions on the future of our bus service,” Deputy Ó Broin said. “Having considered the views of local communities and discussed the issues directly with the NTA and the National Bus and Rail Union, I am strongly of the view that major changes are needed if it is to meet the needs of communities in Dublin Mid-West.”

Speaking ahead of the deadline for submissions, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, said there was a lot of misinformation and anxiety about the project.

“None of the proposed routes will appear for at least 18 months,” he said. “Nothing has been set in stone and changes can and will be made following your input. In November the NTA will publish proposals for all 16 corridors.

“So, if you missed the September deadline, don’t worry. I specifically required that these proposals be followed by a further public consultation in January 2019.

“So, please get involved. To provide the best bus service possible for your areas, your help and input is needed. “

National Transport Authority Chief Executive Anne Graham said a revised plan will be published next year.

The authority also revealed it had received 20,000 submissions ahead of the deadline and was not surprised by the amount of "engagement". 

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