A group of Sandymount residents are appealing to the National Transportation Authority (NTA) to urgently change the route for the new BusConnects C-Spine that only entered service on Sunday.
C-Spine is Dublin’s second re-engineered bus network to start operating, with buses running from Maynooth, Celbridge, Leixlip and Lucan, through the city to Ringsend and Sandymount. Follows last June’s introduction to the H backbone of Howth and Malahide.
While the C-Spine routes remain from West Dublin largely as published by the NTA in 2020, the Sandymount end of the route has been changed to remove buses from Strand Road.
The change was introduced to facilitate Dublin City Council’s plans to start a one-way system on the Strand to make space for a bike lane. The Supreme Court ruled in July that the bike path required planning permission. The Board appeals the court’s decision.
Strand road unused
Sandymount residents said they only realized in recent weeks that BusConnects’ plan had changed to use Guilford Road and Park Avenue instead of the Strand Road.
“Park Avenue is a narrow residential road and at some points it would be virtually impossible for two buses to pass each other without one fixed to the sidewalk. Within this new BusConnects route, there will be buses every two minutes at peak times and approximately every four minutes after that,” said Kevin Byrne. From the Park Avenue Action Collection « This kind of frequency is unimaginable. »
As of mid-November, maps on the NTA’s website showed the C-Spine route using the Strand Road, Mr. Byrne said.
“We were not involved with this matter with the NTA. We submitted submissions to BusConnects Consulting based on a route that no longer exists. We assumed that because the courts had nullified the board’s session route plan, the NTA would use the Strand route.”
Because Sandymount is the way station, the group said, buses can use a loop system so that they only run one-way on Park Avenue. “Without mitigation measures, Park Avenue will become a service route for up and down buses,” said Mr. Byrne.
Fine Gael Cllr Paddy McCartan said he would call on board management to contact the NTA to resolve the issue.
« It makes sense that the route would return to Strand Road. The whole purpose of BusConnects is to serve as many areas as possible. With the exception of Stand Road, it excludes half of Sandymount and causes a major safety issue on narrow Park Avenue. »
An NTA spokesperson said the new alignment was appearing on the Transport for Ireland website and in items distributed to households in the region « in recent weeks ».
Bus lines, which were discontinued under a network redesign, switched from Strand Road to Park Avenue earlier this year, and the NTA would have preferred to continue this flow of new C routes, rather than using a one-way loop-back system.
“Experience shows that, where possible, bus lines use the same routes in both directions by the majority of passengers [and prospective passengers] Because it provides a simpler and easier to use network.”
“As always, operations related to C-Spine implementation will be closely monitored and appropriate actions taken when necessary.” He said the NTA is dealing with council officials. « We understand that the legal process with respect to the proposed course plan is ongoing. »
The network redesign includes eliminating the current numbering system for all carriers. The new letter system A through H will designate eight « thorns » across the city, with buses running every four to eight minutes. The numbers will be used to refer to the different branches of the spine.
What is the new fare?
Separately, a new 90-minute fare, which will allow passengers to switch between Dublin’s public transport services for 2.30 euros, came into operation on Sunday.
Travelers can use Dublin Buses, Luas, most Dart services, commuter trains, and Go-Ahead Ireland in Dublin within 90 minutes of initial departure, without incurring an additional fee.
The 90-minute TFI fare will be €2.30 for adults and students when using their Leap Card during a promotional period to stay in place until the end of March 2022. The price will then increase to €2.50.
A new kids’ flat Leap card fare of 80 cents has also been introduced.
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