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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 25 March, 2019
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Plans for dramatic cut to bus services in Dublin village has locals on the streets

Bus frequency in Chapelizod could go from every five minutes to every thirty.

A bus and the march pass the church in the Chapelizod.
A bus and the march pass the church in the Chapelizod.
Image: TheJournal.ie

SEVERAL HUNDRED LOCALS locals in the Dublin village of Chapelizod took to the streets over the weekend to protest plans for a dramatic reduction in their bus services. 

At present, the frequency of services through the village at peak times is between five to ten minutes, but dramatic changes proposed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) would see this reduced to every half an hour. 

A number of buses that currently serve the west of the city, including the 25, 26, 66 and 67, all pass through Chapelizod on their way to the city centre. 

But the NTA’s Bus Connects plan would see these buses instead use the Chapelizod Bypass under a new service called the C. This route would be made up of a number of services that would then join together as the C just before the turn off the N4 for Lucan village.

As a replacement for its lost buses, Chapelizod would be served by a single route, the 14, that would run every 30 minutes. 

chapo bus

Locals have expressed their shock and dismay at the plans, pointing out that commuters in the village have actually been campaigning for additional services due to packed buses in the morning. 

Gráinne Walsh, who’s lived in the village for 20 years, organised Saturday’s protest march and says everyone has been taken aback by the news. 

It would be a disaster, it’s already struggling at the moment. You see people waiting for two and three buses in the morning as they pass full. So every half-hour, it’s just not going to work at all. 

“We’re shocked, it’s just unbelievable because we’ve actually been arguing for the opposite, so it actually seems so ridiculous. I don’t think they understand.”

There’s loads of new businesses opening here, that industrial estate was derelict for years, now it’s full to capacity. There’s a new restaurant opening on the bridge, there’s a new pub there. The village is just picking up.
20180825_121105

The 2016 Census put Chapelizod’s population at just over 3,000 people, about 2,000 of whom were between the ages of 20 to 60. 

Walsh argues that the village is not served by any other form of public transport so commuters into town could be forced to use their cars, impacting the south quays in Dublin city. 

People will start driving again, it’ll be chock-a-block. The quays is down to one lane of traffic since last year, so it’ll just be chock-a-block. We’re trying to encourage people to use cars less and then you knock the bus service. We have no Luas, we’ve no trains, it’s only the bus.  

20180825_121248A protester from Saturday’s march.Source: TheJournal.ie

The proposals are currently part of a public consultation phase and the Bus Connects website has a survey section for people to give their feedback on the plans.

A number of local information sessions are also being held and Sinn Féin Councillor Dáithi Doolin says Chapelizod residents are planning to make their feelings known at the 19 September meeting in nearby Ballyfermot.

“We are encouraging people to come along to the Ballyfermot Civic Centre to meet with the National Transport Authority to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that our buses are not for turning, or reducing,” Doolin told TheJournal.ie.

“We need to keep our bus service, improve our bus service and make sure Chapelizod remains well-connected with the rest of Dublin.”

This is going to be hugely detrimental to people using schools, going to work, going to college. It also connects this community to Ballyfermot, going out to Tallaght, those buses will be removed or reduced. 
20180825_123918A number of buses pass through the village during march.Source: TheJournal.ie

The councillor says that a reduction in the service would hurt different members of the community with elderly people living in senior citizen complexes also affected by the changes.

Aside from the concerns about Chapelizod, Doolin also says that the wider Bus Connects plan could see people in other parts of the city using the Luas in greater numbers. 

Part of the aim is to encourage people onto the Luas. I use the Luas every day, I’m not a car owner, I don’t drive a car. Myself and my kids use the Luas, there’s no point in moving hundreds of thousands of more people onto a Luas that’s already packed in the mornings and packed in the evenings.

“It’s ill-thought out, it’s short-sighted we need to be building communities that are linked to each other.”  

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Rónán Duffy

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