Submission on Revised Bus Connects Routes Network

13 December 2019

by Cllr Joe Costello

Last year the National Transport Authority published proposals for a revised bus network for Dublin.  The proposals involve a redesign of the current route network as well as a major infrastructure programme to facilitate the creation of new or enhanced bus corridors across the City.  

Both the redesign of the bus route network and the infrastructure proposals will have a major impact on communities across the City, particularly the uban villages of Dublin Central including Stoneybatter, Phibsborough, Glasnevin, Drumcondra, Cabra, East Wall, North Strand and Ballybough.

I have been working with residents across the length and breadth of the Constituency to ensure that the NTA take on board on board the very real concerns of our communities   My submission to the most recent consultation on the Route Redesign is below.

Submission from Cllr Joe Costello to the NTA on the Bus Connects Submission – Revised Bus Network

I wish to make the following observations in relation to the current consultation round of the Revised Bus Network:

Residents in Cabra remain concerned about the elimination of the 120 and 122 routes.  The 97 from Ashington will operate only once every hour and in no way compensates for the elimination of these routes.

Residents from Ashington, Carnlough Road, Bannow Road, Ratoath Road and Skreen Road will be left with minimal bus services.  There is a large number of people in Cabra who depend on the bus and the elderly, in particular, will not be able to walk long distances to bus stops.  These proposals are discriminatory against people with disabilities/mobility impairments.

I welcome the fact that you took my previous observation on board and there will not now be three buses trying to cross the old bridge at Broombridge and that the 36  will now service Ratoath Road and Ratoath Estate and cross the new bridge over the Canal and Railway.

The removal of the 37 Bus will result in people along Blackhorse Avenue having no bus to the City Centre as the N2 will be an orbital route.  The introduction of the N2 is welcome in its own right and will link the Stoneybatter/Blackhorse Avenue/Cabra Area to Finglas and Glasnevin and Clontarf.  It is disappointing that it is at the cost of removing a much used bus route.

The current maps show the N2 travelling in two ways on Aughrim Street.  As you are aware, Aughrim Street is currently the cause of major concern in relation to the BusConnects infrastructure proposals.   At present Aughrim Street does not have the capacity to support the 37 route travelling in both directions.  The 37 travels southwards on Aughrim Street to the City Centre; the northbound 37 bus goes up Prussia Street and then up the North Circular Road to Blackhorse Avenue.  The proposal to run the N2 in both directions is unacceptable, particularly in view of the increased traffic foreseen on Augrhim Street if the infrastructure proposals are implemented.  I have been reassured by the BusConnects infrastructure team that this is an error and will be corrected, but I feel it is an important point to make here.

Stoneybatter faces considerable challenges with the infrastructure proposals from the Old Cabra Road to the Liffey Quays.  I am working with the community in negotiating with the design team and while some progress has been made, many issues are unresolved. 

There is concern in Stoneybatter and other urban villages of the City that their villages are being turned into bus corridors to facilitate the maximum number of buses from outlying regions coming into the City Centre.  In the case of Stoneybatter and the B Spine there seems to be no provision for express buses into the City Centre that would not need to travel via Stoneybatter – for example an express bus through the Phoenix Park would facilitate bringing people from Clonee, Dunboyne, Blanchardstown, Castleknock to the the City Centre without the necessity of travelling through Stoneybatter.  Residents in Stoneybatter complain that during peak hours most of the buses don’t stop in Stoneybatter as they are full by the time they arrive at the Navan Road.

While the introduction of the O Route is a welcome development, there is considerable opposition to the abolition of the 46A in both the Stoneybatter/Phibsborough areas.  The removal of the 46A route will result in cutting off large numbers of people from the North Circular Road, west of Oxmantown Road (Ross Street/Ashford Street/Cowper Street) Infirmary Road (and surrounding streets – Aberdeen, Sullivan Street etc,), Montpelier Hill and Montpelier Gardens, from a bus service.  According to your own route planners, people from Infirmary Road, Montpelier Hill etc. will have to walk to Parkgate Street to catch a bus to the City Centre.  People living west of Oxmantown Road will have to walk to Prussia Street/Manor Street to catch a bus to the City Centre.   Moreover, a significant number of people take the 46A to UCD and the lack of a direct service to UCD will impact negatively on many residents.

I am disappointed that the issue raised in my previous submission regarding the treatment of East Wall has not been adequately addressed.  Residents in East Wall are opposed to the proposal to eliminate the 151 bus route and not replace it with a proper service.  The current 151 runs every twenty minutes and serves the people of East Wall very well.  The proposed 93 route running once every 60 minutes is effectively a  much diminished “wanderly wagon” type  service for people in East Wall.

The entire thrust of bus services in the North Wall, East Wall areas is not to provide any service for the local people to the City Centre, but to provide a commuter service for suburban dwellers accessing the Financial Services Centre and the Docklands.

Sheriff Street/Seville Place will have no bus service whatsoever with the ending of the 151. Sean McDermott Street will also lose its bus service.  Similarly, Clonliffe Road will also be adversely impacted with no bus service on a long road.  

In relation to Drumcondra/Glasnevin, I welcome the fact that you took my previous observation into consideration and that the 94 will now run along Home Farm Road.  This is a welcome improvement on the previous proposal. 

Phibsborough will be severely challenged by BusConnects.  It will be a cockpit for buses from Blanchardstown, Ashington, Pelletstown, Cabra, the North Circular Road, Glasnevin and the Airport as eight bus routes (7, 8, 34, 35, 36, 97 and E1 & E2 will be travelling through Phibsborough.  Southbound general traffic from the Navan Road is to be rerouted through Phibsborough as the Old Cabra Road and Prussia Street will be closed to general traffic.  It is hard to see how an already challenged village will cope.

It should also be borne in mind that the Metrolink will impact considerably on the BusConnects proposals in Phibsborough and Glasnevin.  I have particular concerns about traffic and bus flows during the construction of the Metrolink which foresees the closure of Berkeley Road for some considerable time while the station at the 4 Masters Park is being constructed.  

 There would need to be considerable communication between the Metrolink and BusConnects Projects which seems to be sadly lacking at the moment.

The BusConnects proposal does not take into account the proposed Metrolink also being sponsored by the NTA.  A major new infrastructure being introduced at the same time as a new Metro system is being constructed across the City, would seem to be a recipe for traffic and commuter chaos in the coming years. 

The new proposals will also place considerable pressure on Mountjoy Street/Gardiner Street where up to eight bus routes will operate and circle this fine Georgian Square.  There are also plans for a terminus at Mountjoy Square which will be a nightmare for local residents. Mountjoy Square residents have done much work to restore the old Georgian Square.  The BusConnects proposals threaten to turn the Square into a bus hub, undoing much of the good regeneration work that has been done in the area.  Moreover,  the BusConnects Project should be cognisant of the number of schools/creches in the area.

There is considerable concern about the number of interchanges being proposed under bus connects.   It is not satisfactory to have so many interchanges on a bus system.  Constituents are concerned about having to make frequent changes and wait for several buses in cold, wet weather.

Finally, while the infrastructure changes are the subject of a separate consultation, it is important to note that there is considerable concern regarding some of these proposals, including the new system on Mobhi Road and the creation of a bus corridor on Prussia Street/Old Cabra Road.  Moreover, there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the future of on-street parking and the removal of gardens along several routes.

I trust you will  take these observations on board in drawing up the final plans for Bus Connects.