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Explainer: Here's what the revised BusConnects plan would mean for your bus route

The routes have been revised after the initial public consultation. Here’s what they look like.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, the National Transport Authority (NTA) announced redesigns to the landmark BusConnects plan.

The plan will see the current routes throughout Dublin Bus abolished and replaced with spines and orbital routes. They’ll replace the existing routes completely, with the 46a, 40 and other routes set to become a thing of the past. 

Around 50,000 submissions were made following a public consultation on the initial new routes proposed with people in some localities complaining that they would be left without a direct route to travel to the city. This consultation ran from late last year into 2019.

bus connects 1 All of the spine services will pass through Dublin city centre Source: BusConnects

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. 

The network is being redesigned in an attempt to make bus routes simpler for tourists to understand and more efficient so that buses come more frequently.

However, due to the frequency of some services compared to others, people may have to change buses on the way into the city centre.

The most frequent services will be along the “spines”. The theory according to those behind the plan is that although you may have to change your bus on the way into town, by prioritising the key spines to run every five to 10 minutes, it should actually get you into town faster.

Along with that, there will be orbital routes that stay outside the city centre that cross over the various spines.

For example, someone travelling from Cabra to Clontarf could take the N2 bus without having to go through the city under the plans. Or if they wanted to go to Howth from Cabra, they could get the N2, avoid town and hop on one of the spine services that travels to Howth when it gets to Clontarf.

n routes The blue N routes don't go directly to town and provide links to other suburbs. Source: BusConnects

The original plan had seven spines. The revised plan has eight.

It’s not quite set in stone yet, but here’s how the revised BusConnects plan would change your bus route if it was implemented under the current proposals.

The A spine

With the spines, there’s a core route linking an area to the city. Once it gets a certain distance to the city, each of the bus services that make up that spine will follow the same route through the centre.

In the example of A below, from Terenure in the south and Drumcondra on the north side, each of the A buses go the same route. 

In places, the spine branch off in separate directions the further it gets out from the city. In the case of the A spine, there’ll be four strands that link up together – A1, A2, A3, A4.

While each of these start in different places, you could – in the case of A – get anyone of these buses at Drumcondra Dart Station if you were heading into the city centre. 

In the case of the A, they’ll be every few minutes at peak times.  Currently, the 16 bus runs every ten minutes during rush hour.

The service travels from Dublin Airport, through Santry, Drumcondra and the city centre, before going to Harold’s Cross, Terenure and ending up in Ballinteer.

The 16 is joined by a number of other buses along the route, but that would be replaced by the A spine.

So let’s break them down (and to note – the exact route can be broken down by clicking into each map).

A1, A3

The terminus on the north of the city for the A1 is at Beaumont hospital. The A1 and A3both join the rest of the A spine at Collins Avenue.

It travels down Drumcondra Road into the city centre.

a spine Source: BusConnects

Crossing onto the south side, it turns off Dame Street onto George’s Street. It goes past the canal into Rathmines, into Rathgar and then Terenure.

The A1 then splits off, goes through Templeogue and Knocklyon before terminating at Old Ballycullen.

The A3, meanwhile, also splits off and goes through Cherryfield before terminating in Tallaght. 

a spine 1 Source: BusConnects

A2, A4

The A2 and A4 travel out a bit further north than the first two.

The A4 goes as far as Swords, while the A2 terminates at Dublin Airport.

You can also see on the map below a number of smaller, less frequent orbital routes that link these to other areas separate from the city. 

For example, the 196 which begins near Holywell links Swords to Charlestown in Finglas.

a spine 6 Source: BusConnects

The terminus for A2 and A4 in the south side is at Dundrum and Nutgrove respectively. 

A2 A4 Source: BusConnects

The B spine

Currently the 39a goes from Blanchardstown all the way to UCD, with a number of other buses on that route.

The new B spine will go to UCD but also shake up how the various nearby areas access town.

As with the A spine, there’ll be a B1, B2, B3 and B4 route. From Blanchardstown shopping centre towards town, each service be going in the same direction. 

However, existing buses like the 70 which links the city centre to Dunboyne will be no more.

Instead, people travelling from there would get a 264 to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and then switch to one of the B spine buses. 

b spine blanchardstown Source: BusConnects

It’s when it gets to town that the B diverges from the current routes of the 39 et al.

Buses on the B spine will go around Merrion Square and into Ballsbridge. At St Vincent’s Hospital, B1 and B2 will turn onto Nutley Lane and then terminate at UCD. 

b spine south 1 Source: BusConnects

The B3 and B4 carry on into Booterstown and Blackrock. Where the B3 terminates in Dun Laoghaire, the B4 carries on into Sallynoggin and terminates near Killiney.

Also of note here, less frequent buses such as the 221 and the 211 will link Dun Laoghaire with Dalkey and Bray.

b spine south 2 Source: BusConnects

The C spine

Now, there’s a number of buses that go through Lucan, including the 25a, 25b, 66 and 67. That would be replaced by the C spine.

The different strands of the C spine – again C1, C2, C3 and C4 would meet on the M4 to the east of Lucan village and carry on into town.

When travelling away from the city centre, buses on the C spine will travel through Palmerstown and pass Liffey Valley.

The C1 will turn just before the village as will C2. They both take different routes before terminating at the Adamstown train station. 

c spine Source: BusConnects

The C3 and 4 will go through Lucan village before diverging. The C4 will travel onto Celbridge while the C3 goes to Maynooth. 

And then, instead of terminating in the city centre like the 66, 67 and 25 buses currently do, the C spine will carry on as far as Ringsend.

c spine 2 Source: BusConnects

Here, C3 and C4 terminate while the C1 and C2 buses carry on to Sandymount. 

The D spine

Now it gets complicated.

One of the biggest changes to the BusConnects plan in this iteration compared to the previous one is the north-east of Dublin, which is covered by the D spine (and now also the H spine – more on this later).

The 15 and 27 routes are two busy routes that travel from the north of the city past Clontarf, and through Donnycarney, Artane and Coolock.

The D spine will replace this. But there will be five routes within the D spine – D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5.

Here’s where the terminus is for each one on the north side:

  • D1 – Clongriffin
  • D2 – Clarehall
  • D3 – Clongriffin
  • D4 – Coolock Lane near Beaumont Hospital
  • D5 – Blunden Drive just off the Malahide Road

d spine north Source: BusConnects

As you can see, the different routes along the sign branch off to serve the different nearby suburbs before joining at the Malahide Road, travelling through Donnycarney and heading into the city. 

Once buses on the D spine reache town, they’ll then serve south-west Dublin. Buses will go down Cork Street, cross the canal into Crumlin and then diverge after Our Lady’s Hospital. 

The D1 and D3 travel into Clondalkin, with D1 going further and terminating in Lucan and D3 terminating after Clondalkin village. 

d spine south 1 Source: BusConnects

D2, D4 and D5 head further south towards Tallaght. D2 terminates in Kingswood, D4 in Aylesbury and D5 at the Square. 

The E spine

The E spine is a lot more straightforward.

It encompasses two routes – E1 and E2 – serving Ballymun and Charlestown in north Dublin and Dun Laoghaire and Bray in the south.  

The E1 will terminate in Ballymun while the E2 will go onto Charlestown.

E spine north 1 Source: BusConnects

The E will travel from the Ballymun Road, by Glasnevin into Phibsborough and through the city centre. 

Once it gets through town the E will follow routes similar to the 46a and the 145 buses that currently run. 

e spine south 1 Source: BusConnects

E1 will go out to Bray while the E2 will go to Dun Laoghaire.

The F spine

The F spine will serve Finglas on Dublin’s northside with F1, F2 and F3 taking different routes in that area with all three then terminating in Charlestown. 

The spine will travel into the city centre via Phibsborough and Dorset Street. 

f spine north Source: BusConnects

The service leaves town through Clanbrassil Street into Harold’s Cross and Kimmage before breaking off in three directions.

F1 goes through Cherryfield and Firhouse before reaching an eventual destination of the Square Tallaght.

F2 goes through Perrystown before terminating at Cherryfield and F3 terminates at Tymon Park. 

f spine south Source: BusConnects

The G spine

This spine consists of G1 and G2 and primarily serves areas of Ballyfermot, Clondalkin and Inchicore. 

The two spines meet in Ballyfermot. G1 also serves Park West and Cherry Orchard before terminating at the Red Cow Luas, while G2 travels through Clondalkin and terminates at Liffey Valley.

Into the city, the bus travels by Kilmainham, St James’s Hospital before terminating at Spencer Dock.

g spine west Source: BusConnects

The H spine

The H spine is a new inclusion in the revised BusConnects plan. This would connect the city centre with frequent services to Malahide, Howth and Clongriffin.

Made up of H1, H2 and H3, they travel the same oute until splitting at St Anne Park outside Raheny. 

The H1 travels through Raheny, Edenmore and Donaghmede before terminating at Clongriffin.

h spine 1 Source: BusConnects

The H2 and H3 hug the coast along Kilbarrack before diverging.

h spine malahide Source: BusConnects

h spine howth Source: BusConnects

The H2 travels all the way to Malahide while the H3 terminates at Howth summit. 

The consultation on all these proposals will run until Tuesday 3 December 2019.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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