€1bn plan to transform bus usage in the capital

by Darragh McKiernan
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A NEW suite of initiatives planned to radically transform public transport in the Dublin region was launched last week, with the bus services plan set to cost more than €1bn.
Launched by Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Anne Graham, chief executive of the National Transport Authority, the initiatives – called BusConnects – put bus services at the heart of the solution to traffic congestion in the capital.
The total cost of BusConnects is estimated to be more than €1bn, some €300m of which is already committed under the 2015 capital plan, Building On Recovery.
Some of the proposals include next-generation bus corridors, redesigning the network of bus routes and a cashless fare payment system, as well as a rolling out new bus stops with better signage and information.
Speaking about the initiative’s launch, Anne Graham said: “Thanks to BusConnects, just about everybody will be able to beat the congestion by using the bus rather than a car to get around.
“We believe that there is potential to increase bus passenger numbers by at least 50% over the lifetime of the project, which would represent a significant step-change in how people get about.
“This can only happen if measures are put in place to make bus travel more convenient, more reliable and more appealing – and we believe that BusConnects will do precisely that.
“Dublin is a low-density city, which means that that very few areas of Dublin have the size and concentration of population to support rail-based public transport. For most areas, bus transport represents the best public transport solution.
“In any case, rail projects typically have lead-in times of 8-10 years, and with congestion continuing to worsen every month, more immediate solutions are required.
“That is why, today, the plans we are publishing are primarily about investing in bus transport. They sit alongside our longer-term commitments to the rail corridors, and complement them.
“These solutions will generally have a much shorter turn-around time, which means that we can make travel by bus an increasingly attractive option for commuters all across the network sooner rather than later.
“By investing in our bus services, we will make the city a better place, and a more attractive place to work, play or invest in.”
Minister Ross said: “We have seen remarkable growth in our economy in recent years, and that recovery is continuing.
“That means more jobs, more people at work, more people out socialising, and more people visiting, all of which is to be welcomed, but it does place a strain on our transport infrastructure, and we’ve all seen the congestion in the city and across the region that arises as a result.
“The proposals being put forward can potentially transform Dublin’s bus system in a fundamental way, so that when it comes to speed, punctuality, reliability and convenience, journeys by bus can be better than ever before.”
For further information on the initiatives, see www.busconnects.ie.

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