'We'll block a bus if we have to', say protesters over threat to Sallynoggin service
South Dublin residents have vowed to take to the streets if Dublin Bus go ahead with plans to cut bus services in some areas.
"I think we'll have more than 500 people turning out to march at the next protest," said John Downes, who is organising the campaign to save the number 7 bus in Sallynoggin said.
"We'll block a bus if we have to. That's what happened the last time they tried to change the route of the 7," he told the Herald.
The proposals involve the amalgamation of some routes and the re-routing of others, a move that residents say will leave many people, particularly the elderly, without a bus service.
"A lot of the changes will impact on people who are elderly and people who have disabilities - they simply can't walk to the next stop," Mr Downes said.
People are very angry locally at the plans, he added.
Hundreds of people have made submissions to the bus company, including at an open day that was hosted in Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre.
"There was so much interest that they ran out of flyers, despite havng brought a stock of 500," said local Fianna Fail councillor Cormac Devlin, chair of the Dun Laoghaire local area committee.
"There has been a huge amount of feedback from people. They have got their point across, I think," he added.
Juline O'Neill, secretary of the Killiney Village Residents Association, said that the removal of the 59 bus from the area would affect people "very, very badly".
"We don't have a post office or a chemist in the village, people have to use the bus to collect their pensions," she said.
"The point where they are proposing at which the bus will now turn is at the bottom of an uphill area."
The village will have no direct public transport links, and the nearest Dart stations are about a 20-minute walk away, she added.
An emergency meeting of the committee was held last month with representatives of Dublin Bus. The company was urged not to make any decisions before reverting to councillors.
Fine Gael councillor John Bailey, who called the meeting, said that he believes the company have listened to the message from local people.
"It's not just about providing a bus service but a social service in the area," he said.
"I'm confident that they will come back to us with a satisfactory solution."
The number 45a, which runs from Kilmacanogue to Dun Laoghaire Dart Station, would be re-routed through Sallynoggin every 30 minutes under the plans.
The number 8 bus route would be amalgamated with the 59 bus. The 111 route will be discontinued and the 7 and 59 will be revised to provide an alternative service.
Despite ardent criticism from bus users in the area, Dublin Bus said that the changes will actually improve local services and provide transport links to key destinations in the area while improving journey times and easing traffic congestion.
Public consultation on the plans will close on Friday, but the company have said further consultation will occur if necessary.