PUBLIC consultations are set to get underway on the proposed new bus rapid transit scheme between Swords and Dublin city centre.
Three Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes, to be called Swiftway and costing up to €650m, have been proposed for Dublin by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
It is proposed that lines would run from Swords and Dublin Airport to the city centre, Blanchardstown to UCD, and Clongriffin to Tallaght.
The Dublin Airport route is estimated to cost between €150m and €200m, with the three routes costing between €500m and €650m.
Each route could be put in place at about a third of the cost of a light rail line, and less than one tenth of the estimated cost of Metro North.
Details about the project, including the preferred route, will be on display on weekdays at three locations from today until November 25.
The proposals can be seen at Fingal County Council Civic Offices, Dublin City Council Civic Offices, and the NTA offices in Harcourt Lane, Dublin 2.
Submissions must be made before 5pm on November 28.
The new system could reduce commute times from outer Dublin suburbs to the city centre by up to 40pc.
The buses would be given priority at traffic signals and would operate on their own bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes or a shared bus/BRT lane to allow for rapid travel.
The new system is designed to emulate light-rail systems - but at a much lower cost.
It is being modelled on similar public transit networks in cities such as Madrid, Nantes and Vancouver.
If implemented, the new system could carry up to 3,600 passengers in each direction per hour.
In addition, the vehicles would be modern multi-door vehicles, and it is proposed single-deck vehicles be used.
However, local councillors say that Swiftway cannot be a allowed to become a replacement for Metro North.
"Whatever about Swiftway, we need a rail link from Swords and Dublin airport to Dublin city centre," said Fianna Fail councillor Darragh Butler.
"Bendy buses are not an adequate replacement for a rail based solution," he said.
He added that ultimately the final plans on the proposal will be confirmed in the first quarter of 2015.
Mr Butler sought an update on discussions on Metro North at this week's council meeting.
Planning consent for the construction of Metro North was granted by An Bord Pleanala in October, 2010.
However, in November 2011, the Government deferred the project pending the consideration of the next capital programme, which will be drawn up in 2015.
Mr Butler was informed in the response that the NTA has recently commissioned the Fingal/North Dublin Transport study to identify the optimum medium term and long term public transport solution, connecting to the city centre.