herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Public worried bendy buses are a 'cheap alternative' to Metro

FEARS that Metro North could be side-lined by a "cheap alternative" were raised by members of the public about a proposed city "bendy bus" scheme.

The consultation process carried out by the National Transport Authority (NTA) on the route featured over 500 people - with safety and local concerns at the top of the list.

The proposed route would see bus company Swiftway provide a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service that would go between Swords, Dublin Airport and the city centre.

It is one of three planned BRT routes proposed for Dublin by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Cost

It is proposed that lines would run from Swords and Dublin Airport to the city centre, Blanchardstown to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght and would cost an estimated €650m.

The report published this week, outlines the most important issues of concern outlined by residents, politicians, businesses and other local interest groups.

Some of those groups included TD Clare Daly, members of the Glen Ellan and Sandford Woods Residents Association, city car parks, the Swords Pavilion Shopping Centre and Arnotts.

Over 250 complaints were raised over the service being "an interim solution" and that the service would "lessen the urgency" to develop the proposed Metro North project.

The first plans for the Metro North project were published by Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe back in December and could feature a service from St Stephen's Green to the airport and Swords.

In the complaints on this issue, various groups say that the bus service isn't enough and that Metro North is needed "with or without BRT".

Over 287 submissions were also made about safety concerns - some of which referred to the widening of the roads and traffic issues in Swords.

Locals expressed concern that the increased traffic congestion caused by the bus route, would result in children being unable to walk safely across to their local shops or playground.

The second highest of the issues raised refers to the possibility of the new route having a "negative impact on other road-users", and that it would cause "excessive traffic problems". Other comments made say that a "signal priority", which would be given to Swiftway buses, could lead to the "deterioration of other bus services operating in the area and general traffic congestion".

There was 105 submissions from people raising concerns about vehicle type. Among the points made was that bendy buses were previously on Dublin streets and were phased out because they were "unsuitable."

Views

The NTA says that the purpose of the process was to "elicit the views of the public" and said that it would now conduct a final preliminary scheme design, taking on board the feedback.

The plans to go ahead and implement the Swords, airport to the city centre scheme will be taken to An Bord Pleanala later this year.

The NTA says that "subject to funding approval" the scheme could begin its procurement and constructing period which could take "about two and a half years" to complete.

hnews@herald.ie

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