SUBMISSION: Sent to Bus Connects on Friday 28th September 2018
On behalf of the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas in Dublin Mid West (Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown, Saggart, Newcastle, Rathcoole and Brittas), I wish to make known the following observations on the proposed redesign of the Dublin Bus Network.
- The reduction of routes heading from the city centre direction through Inchicore, Kilmainham, Chapelizod and Ballyfermot to the greater Clondalkin urban area will have a seriously detrimental effect on schools. To take one case in point, as a Gaelcholáiste, Coláiste Chilliain’s catchment area extends into North Clondalkin, to Inchicore, Kilmainham and out to Saggart, Rathcoole and Newcastle. Removing buses that can bring these schoolchildren directly to school will do nothing more than place more cars on the road. The same can be said about schools in Lucan and Palmerstown.
- A lack of bus connectivity with Clondalkin Fonthill Railway Station is a missed opportunity. There is no reason why the proposed G2 route should not run via the parallell Newlands-Fonthill Road to serve this purpose.
- Residents of Saggart, Newcastle and Rathcoole will be faced with increased travel times to the city centre. While increased interconnectivity with the Red Line Luas is to be welcomed, the majority of workers in this area need direct access to the city centre, more than they need a 45 minute journey to Tallaght to compete for space on overcrowded trams.
- The reduction of services in the Dutch Village/Woodford/Yellow Meadows area from every few minutes at peak times to once per hour will affect thousands of commuters and residents. Many residents, particularly older people, will be essentially cut off from Clondalkin Village.
- For many older people and p, the act of embarkation and disembarkation is the most onerous part of the journey. Asking people with reduced mobility to forego their direct routes in favour of multiple buses is a difficult pill to swallow. We ask that this new model of interchanges and a more frequent service be phased in, rather than introduced in one fell swoop. In areas where a once-hourly direct service is being replaced with feeder buses, we call on you to implement these on a phased basis to provide a proof of concept. When residents in these areas see that such a service is as efficient as claimed, it will be an easy transition.
- While an overall increase of service is promised, the cold fact remains that many areas will be left without a bus route. While stops that are moved away from one resident are mover closer to another, and as such bear no complaints, entire areas will be stripped of regular bus services and forced to considerable distances. This will do more than inconvenience older people and people with disabilities. This will discourage people from leaving their homes and will lead to increased loneliness and isolation.
- Important bus routes by hospitals and primary care centres must be maintained. Older people and people with disabilities are more likely to suffer from multiple morbidities and require increased contact with hospital services. This was the key driver in the decision to allow the Free Travel Pass to cover peak-time services two decades ago.
- Interchange areas must be well-lit, covered and sheltered, and most crucially of all must have seating. This must be entirely universal. If waiting at interchanges is to become an integral part of our daily travel, it must be as age-friendly as it can be.
In conclusion, the idea of increased radial and orbital routes servicing spines through the city is sound, but the execution of this proposed redesign leaves a lot to be desired. The focus on bringing actual commuters to notional jobs ignores the reasons people currently rely on the routes they do. If this drastic change is brought in overnight, one can only imagine the real difficulties this will cause. Even if only for a period of adjustment, it will put more cars on the road. Once commuters become reliant on cars, it is very difficult to break that habit. As such, the Green Party in Dublin Mid West cannot support the plan in its current incarnation.