herald

Sunday 23 September 2018

Protests would put the brakes on plans for bus network revamp

Planner Jarrett Walker
Planner Jarrett Walker

Only minor changes can be made to a radical restructuring of the Dublin Bus network unveiled last week or it will "fall apart".

Transport planner Jarrett Walker, who designed the new network on behalf of the Nat- ional Transport Authority, said the plan would not go ahead if there was widespread opposition.

However, he urged people to read the proposal and examine the mooted changes before objecting.

The network review, the biggest undertaken in the history of Dublin Bus, will see a renumbering of all routes and creation of seven high-frequency spines labelled from A to G across the city, on which buses will run every four to eight minutes.

These will branch out in the suburbs.

There will also be additional orbital services around the capital and connections with Dart, Luas and commuter rail, but some passengers will lose direct services to the heart of the city and will be forced to interchange.

Mr Walker said the Bus Connects plan would result in people being able to travel to more areas, and the frequency on the spines would be higher than existing services. This would result in shorter waiting times and faster trips overall.

"The network gets more people to more places sooner," he told the Herald.

"There will be a 27pc expansion of services, which will be made up of increased driver hours and an increase of around 10pc in the fleet.

"I would encourage people to look at the maps carefully and to look at the legend (indicating frequency).

"Rumours you hear about this plan are probably wrong.

"People should inform themselves. This plan will not happen if the feedback is overwhelmingly negative.

"That means people who like the plan also have to comment."

Asked if it could be changed to accommodate local concerns, he said no more than 10pc to 15pc of routes could be altered or it would not work.

However, the NTA was open to suggested improvements and some changes could be made.

"The network is extremely interdependent," said Mr Walker. "If you start taking it apart, it begins to fall apart.

Explain

"I expect the comments from the public to turn up a couple of good ideas we didn't have. Every comment will be read."

The plan was developed because the existing bus network is seen as being too complex, with too many overlapping routes, making it difficult for new users and tourists to understand how it works.

A new numbering system was being introduced to make it "easy to explain", said Mr Walker.

There were concerns that some buses were overloaded, while those travelling to similar areas but a short distance behind had few passengers.

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