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Dublin: 1 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
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Bus Connects redesign: New routes towards Howth and direct into city centre

The redesign comes after an unprecedented response to a public consultation campaign that saw almost 50,000 people contribute.

0708 NTA launch_90583108 Ray Coyne of Dublin Bus and Anne Graham of the NTA. Source: Leah Farrell

BUS CONNECTS PLANNERS have insisted that the “integrity” of the scheme remains in tact after changes to the plan mean more routes will now be going into Dublin city. 

The National Transport Authority (NTA) announced some redesigns to the plan today after an unprecedented response to a public consultation campaign that saw almost 50,000 people contribute. 

The Bus Connects system is built around the concept of prioritising key ‘spines’ that run towards the city and a system of orbital routes that connect them. 

There had been seven spines under the plans announced last year but the NTA said today that an eighth has now been added. 

The new ‘H’ spine will run from the city centre along the Howth Road towards Howth and Malahide. 

PastedImage-49074 Map of rail serviced and proposed Bus Connects spines. Source: NTA

At a briefing today, the NTA revealed results of the public consultation programme which saw people give their views through letters, emails and an online survey. 

The biggest single complaint from people (44%) related to the loss of existing services with over a quarter of people (26%) expressing concern that they will be required to make an interchange to complete their journey. 

Almost a third of people were worried about the Bus Connects plan not providing them with sufficient access to schools, colleges and hospitals.  

The NTA said it is confident it has addressed the concerns of “all but a small minority” of those who responded. Specifically, it said that 95% of areas where an interchange is not currently required will not need one once the plan is introduced. 

The NTA has also said the redesign means “more direct routes to the city centre”.

Speaking at today’s briefing, NTA chief executive Anne Graham said this would not compromise the Bus Connects concept.

“What we have kept is the integrity of the scheme that we put forward last year. And the majority it remains in place,” she said. 

So, you know, what we have kept is the integrity of the scheme that we put forward last year. And the majority of it remains in place. What we’ve done is actually added in additional services in terms of direct services and connected back some links that were broken in the previous proposals. So it’s about additional, rather than completely changing what was proposed. So we still think the integrity of the proposed last year is still there.

“What we’re doing is addressing local issues, and particularly issues about access to the city centre,” Graham added.

Hugh Creegan, deputy CEO of the NTA, added that traffic concerns have been taken into consideration during the redesign.

We’ve been very conscious of city center when we’re redesigning this network and what we’ve done is redistributed the routes in the city center so they’re more distributed for us. Say the section in city center all the way from Winetavern Street down as far as Matt Talbot Bridge, so there’s a greater distribution of the services and therefore the loads at any particular point in network has become reduced. 

PastedImage-40955 Plans for the city centre under Bus Connects. Source: NTA

Maps

The NTA also today launched a online route mapper tool for people to identify what bus routes they would take once the Bus Connects plan becomes operational. 

The tool allows people to search using bus-only services or a bus in connection with rail services.

The Bus Connects plan envisages a 90-minute fare that will allow customers pay a single fare across any combination of bus, Dart and Luas services for a journey.

The NTA said it is “aiming to introduce the 90-minute fare structure at between €2.25 and €2.60″.

“The fare determination for public transport is undertaken every year and fares are only confirmed at that point. In recent years, the NTA has sought to simplify fare structures in Dublin to ease the transition to the new envisaged fare structure,” an NTA spokesperson said. 

GIF bus Source: Busconnects.ie

The NTA also said today that it had taken concerns on board in relating to access to hospitals with Creegan mentioning two such changes.

“We’ve gone around each of the hospitals and key locations and saw what adjustments we could make. So in the case of Beaumont Hospital for instance where there was issues about the amount of access. One of the branches of the A spine now runs in to the hospital, the N8 also runs into the hospital as well as a third route into the hospital as well,” he said.

“When we go down to Vincent’s Hospital on the south side, there were questions about how could you get from Sandymount to Vincent’s Hospital which are addressed with a change one of the routes there.”

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Rónán Duffy

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