NTA dismissed Swords to city centre BRT proposal in 2012
SERIOUS doubts have been cast on the effectiveness of the proposed Swiftway BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system for Swords after it emerged that the NTA (National Transport Authority) who are behind the Swiftway proposal, ruled out a BRT for Swords to the City Centre as recently as 2012 in a report that said the idea was not even worth costing.
The Bus Rapid Transit Core Network Report of 2012, published by the NTA itself, examined three possible routes for BRT in Dublin, including one that would go from Swords to the City Centre and then on to Tallaght.
But the report singles out the route from Swords to the City Centre, now the subject of the new Swiftway BRT proposal from the NTA, as having too high a demand for public transport for a BRT to satisfy.
The report states: 'It is on the northern section of this corridor – between Swords and the City Centre – that the high levels of demand arise.'
The report goes on to say: 'Overall, the link between the city centre and Swords has demand levels that exceed the capacity of a moderate capacity BRT system, in the longer term.
'While BRT may provide an interim partial transport solution in the shorter term, a higher capacity rail solution, such as a metro system, will ultimately be required on this corridor.'
While that matches the NTA's current stated view that BRT is not a long-term replacement for the shelved Metro North project, the following line in the report appears to deem the BRT line not even worthy of further investigation.
The report states: 'In light of this, the Swords to City Centre BRT section has not been progressed to the later costing and appraisal sections of this feasibility study report.'
The conclusions of the report, were brought to the attention of the council by Cllr. Anne Devitt (NP) who has serious doubts whether Swiftway can deliver any relief at all to hard-pressed Swords commuters.
She told a meeting of the Swords/Balbriggan Area Committee last week that the NTA's own report in 2012 effectively 'wrote off the possibility of a BRT being a solution to Swords' public transport needs'.
Cllr. Devitt also cast doubt on the ability of the BRT service to deliver Swords commuters to the City Centre in 35 minutes, as is claimed for the Swiftway project.
She said that at Drumcondra, the service will share a bus lane with other bus services and even though the BRT will have 'priority' in these situations, Cllr. Devitt said that Swiftway 'won't be able to exercise that priority if it is stuck behind a double-decker bus'.
The Swords councillor said that at that point on the route, Swiftway would be 'as slow as the slowest bus' and she said that instead of the BRT, putting more buses on the route taken by Swords Express, using the port tunnel, would deliver more Swords commuters to the City Centre in a shorter time.
But ultimately, some kind of rail solution is needed for Swords, Cllr Devitt said, whether that meant the original plan for Metro North or some kind of rail-based alternative.