Tuesday 23 October 2018

Bus routes in capital to change radically in revamp

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Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Iconic Dublin Bus routes like the 46a will become a thing of the past under a radical restructuring of the network.

Transport bosses want all bus routes in the capital to be renumbered, seven 'super frequent' routes into the city with buses every five to eight minutes introduced, and a move to a new two-fare system to be in place from 2019.

The measures were announced by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and are the most radical redesign of the capital's bus system ever undertaken.

The NTA insists the changes will open up the city, allowing people to access more frequent services and result in time savings, but it will represent a "huge change" for passengers.

Under the proposals, the level of bus service across the city will increase by 27pc and 11 brand new orbital routes, which will operate every 15 minutes or more often, will be introduced.

Services are to be arranged along seven cross-city super-frequent spines, with an increase in the numbers of orbital services, and there will be an increase in the number of all-day high-frequency services.

Pictured at the launch of the report today at the Royal Hibernian Academy are l-r, Jarrett Walker, Jarrett Walker and Associates; Ray Coyne, CEO, Dublin Bus; Minister Shane Ross, Minister for Tansport, Tourism and Sport and Anne Graham, CEO, National Transport Authority. Photo: Julien Behal Photography
Pictured at the launch of the report today at the Royal Hibernian Academy are l-r, Jarrett Walker, Jarrett Walker and Associates; Ray Coyne, CEO, Dublin Bus; Minister Shane Ross, Minister for Tansport, Tourism and Sport and Anne Graham, CEO, National Transport Authority. Photo: Julien Behal Photography

A new route numbering system will be introduced, with 'spines', or high-frequency routes, signified by the letters A to G, followed by a digit. The letter signifies the spine, and the digit the specific branch. Buses will run on these routes every five to eight minutes.

The 11 new orbital routes will operate on a 15-minute frequency, or better.

The NTA also announced plans for a new two-tier fare structure - one will cover short journeys, while a second 90-minute fare is proposed with which a customer can use any public transport system (bus, Dart or Luas) for a journey, subject to the last leg commencing within 90 minutes of the start of the overall trip. The fares have yet to be decided.

Some passengers may be forced to change buses to access their destination, but the NTA said the benefits would be faster, more reliable journeys.

"The number of people living within 400 metres of a bus service that operates every 10 minutes or better will increase by 35pc, from 480,000 to 650,000," it said. "The number of people living within 400 metres of a bus service that operates every 15 minutes or better will increase by 31pc, from 765,000 to almost one million."

Public consultation gets under way on July 16, and will run until September 14.

The redesign is proposed because the network and fare structure is considered to be overly complex. The NTA wants to make it easier to use, and more attractive to passengers.

But it will involve major changes for passengers, with many being forced to transfer from one bus to another. In some cases, passengers will have to transfer twice, but the NTA said it would still result in time savings.

NTA chief executive Anne Graham said there were 130 bus routes at present, and it was an overly complex network.

"Currently the network is radially focused, with most routes emanating outwards from the city centre. As a result, many bus journeys can only be made by firstly traveling into the city centre and then taking another radial bus service out," she said.

"We believe that a system with greater scope for interconnection between routes, and where connecting passengers don't necessarily have to travel to the city centre, is one that would be far more attractive and convenient."

More buses would be required, but the NTA said the costs were not yet known.

Irish Independent

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