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'It's a TRACKING app, where did those four minutes go?': Complaints made about Dublin Bus

Some people took issue with proposed changes to public transport in the capital, while others complained about alleged dangerous driving.

90529311 File photo Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE DEPARTMENT OF Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) gets a lot of feedback about public transport throughout the year, as do transport providers.

Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, TheJournal.ie has seen some of the emails and letters sent to the DTTAS and Dublin Bus about the bus service in 2017.

Some people took issue with proposed changes to public transport in the capital, while others complained about alleged dangerous driving and the accuracy of the bus tracking app.

In one email sent before the completion of Luas Cross City, a person wrote: “I am writing to you all, in my capacity as a daily bus user and an advocate of using public transport, to express my utter frustration with regard to the poor quality of planning of bus routes through the city centre once Luas Cross City commences operations…

“Please accept that this is sent as a constructive criticism, but I think it is a fair comment to say that the planning for this is akin to being done on the back of an envelope, rather than being a well-planned and thought through strategy for an effective bus service through the city centre.”

The person said they were “seriously concerned that the city bus service is going to grind to a standstill in the corning months, and that some of the most recent plans are going to destroy certain routes as they stand from a customer perspective”.

hard place Source: DTTAS

The writer proposed some route changes and called for “some joined up thinking”

“A proper realistic plan of where all bus routes will go through the city for the next year, that also minimises conflict with Luas, and which maintains connectivity, journey times, and perhaps opens new options would be a good start.

Without it and if the current plans are implemented as is, I suspect that there will be a serious backlash from bus users, most of whom will only become aware of the changes when they actually happen.

“That will result in reactionary changes having to be made, rather than proper pre-planned measures that could still be implemented with some proper forethought.

“I hope that something positive can come from this email, and I look forward to seeing what develops, and I hope that this email is seen as constructive,” the person concluded.

‘Reckless driving’

In a separate email, a cyclist complained about what they called “reckless driving” by a Dublin Bus driver.

“On 3 separate occasions from Drumcondra to the airport road I was subjected to dangerous driving,” the person wrote, citing “pure incompetence” and “an unbelievable lack of road safety for cyclists”.

The person said that, on two occasions, “the driver overtook me and then pulled in sharply in front of me to collect passengers”.

“It had rained late this afternoon and once I was forced to emergency brake and skid to avoid being pinned between the kerb and bus and colliding with the hack of the bus.”

The person said they had to “swerve sharply to avoid collision” in a later incident.

Citing the number of cyclists who have been killed on Irish roads (10 at the time, but this has since risen to at least 14), they added: “I was left physically shaken after the close shaves I had this evening due to the reckless behaviour and blatant disregard by a Dublin Bus driver for my safety.”

disaster Source: DTTAS

In an email sent to Transport Minister Shane Ross, one person wrote: “When are you going to do something about the appalling service that Dublin commuters put up with every morning from Dublin Bus?

“I am on a bus and we’ve waited at least 15 minutes for a change of driver. A number of passenger complained, only to receive abuse from the incoming driver.”

Another wrote: “Hi Shane. Congratulations on the plan to greatly improve bus services in the capital. As you must be well aware we in Churchtown have lost the 14a and 16a routes.

“The 14a was replaced by the now highly used 14 to the city via Rathmines, we also have a limited 61 service. It would be a disaster for a lot of older people and locals living a good distance from the Luas stations if the 14 and 61 were scrapped in favour of orbital routes.”

App issues

In one email criticising the accuracy of the Dublin Bus tracking app, one person complained: “This seriously affects my working life and it has happened too often for it to ignore.

“My complaint isn’t about the bus being later than it says it will be because I completely understand that things happen and traffic and other incidents cause the bus to be delayed.

“But when it says I have 4 mins to get to a bus stop that is 30 seconds away, and the bus comes flying past and (is) gone within 6 seconds of checking that, something needs to change. It’s a TRACKING app, where did those 4 minutes go?

I just don’t understand, if you’re tracking the bus, where (did) those 4 minutes get lost? I understand it being 1 or 2 minutes early maybe. But 4 minutes is so ridiculous. What on earth is the point of having a tracking app if it literally does nothing?

“I have forgiven it the last 20 times it’s happened but today was ridiculous. This means I then become late for work to wait for the next one, trying to tell my boss that I missed the bus again, when it’s due to NO fault of my own.

“Please, I’m genuinely begging you to fix this.”

In a separate email, a person complained about a bus on a particular route failing to pull in to pick people up, despite not being full.

“I waited another 30 mins for the next bus. This is not the first time this happened at this bus stop … I have no choice but to use Dublin Bus as I have a tax saver ticket. I’ve already paid for an annual service that is poorly run and monitored.”

‘It did little good for my mental health’ 

In a another email a person said “much to my disgust” buses on two different routes “flashed past unapologetically leaving my fellow commuters and I standing in the freezing cold”.

“In an age of the promotion of one’s mental health l can confirm this did little good for my own…

Are you surprised us paying customers are standing around like fools stressed to the gills trying to make it into the city for work?

“With this great country of ours rising from the ashes of that god forsaken recession are you aware that our unemployment levels are thankfully at record lows and has anybody joined up the dots to realise this is going to put further pressure on an already creaking service?”

Feedback process 

Dublin Bus accepts feedback via its website, social media and post. A spokesperson for the company told TheJournal.ie: “The Dublin Bus Customer Charter sets out our customer services commitment and all complaints are treated in a confidential manner.

We have a robust procedure in place to manage customer complaints. All complaints are acknowledged and then investigated by Dublin Bus where appropriate. All complaints made by email are acknowledged on the same day they are received. We aim to issue a full response within seven days where possible.

“All complaints made through Twitter will receive a response within one hour. Complaints made by letter will receive a written acknowledgement within one week and a full response within three weeks. Targets and reporting structures in relation to the service provided to customers are included in our contract with the National Transport Authority.”

The spokesperson added that Dublin Bus values their customers’ views and regularly uses “independent market researchers to audit our performance and customer views”.  The company also welcomes “commendations about staff who have gone the extra mile”.

Read: ‘I was completely mortified’: Mother ordered off Dublin Bus because her baby was crying

Read: Cyclists hold protest over Luas Cross City signs telling them to dismount and walk

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