Loughlinstown residents turned up in droves at a meeting to protest against changes to their bus service.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) recently unveiled plans for Bus Connects, an ambitious revamping of the city’s bus networks.
Local councillor Cormac Devlin (FF) said that while some of the NTA’s proposals are welcome, he said he strongly opposes other proposals where parts of Ballybrack, Glenageary, Sallynoggin, Loughlinstown, Monkstown and Mounttown will be “left without a direct link to the city centre”.
At a meeting held last Wednesday in Loughlinstown Community Rooms, Cllr Devlin told Dublin Gazette: “Under bus connects the proposal is that there will be an interchange in Dun Laoghaire and they will use DART or new 7 bus to Dun Laoghaire to the city centre, which would be their connection.
“That has an impact on the elderly who need to go to Vincent’s Hospital, workers and students who are in Blackrock Further Education College or Smurfit or other education institutions along that route.”
He added that there will be extra walking journeys for some routes which is Cllr Cormac Devlin (right) addresses a large crowd gathered at Loughlinstown bad news for the elderly or people with disabilities.
“There’s a lot of elderly in this area, people with disabilities, people with mobility issues. There’s a decline down to the N11 and a big incline to move back up onto Loughlinstown.”
Minister for Transport Shane Ross said: “I encourage everyone with queries or worries about their bus route to have your say before September 28th. Nothing has been set in stone; changes can and will be made.
“Please get involved. To provide the best bus service possible for your areas, your help and input is needed.”
At the meeting, Dublin Gazette asked some locals what they thought of the new bus connects proposals.
Sandra O’Donovan said: “It’s disgraceful. I’m totally opposed to it. My daughter only started using the 45A bus route to go to secondary school.
“I don’t know how she’s going to get to school. They can’t call it Bus Connect when we’re already connected to the Luas and to the DART.”
Fifth year student Ryan Dunne said under the new proposals, he won’t be able to get to college.
“I’ve been getting the 45A to school since first year. Without that bus route there’s no way to get to school as it’s like a 45-minute walk in the morning with a heavy school bag as well. You can’t do it.”
Patricia Byrne (71) and her husband Matthew (73) have mobility and health issues and the new bus proposal would bypasses some of the places they regularly go to, like the supermarket.
Matthew said: “It bypasses some of the places we go to, and we would have to get off and walk. We go to Sallynoggin and Dun Laoghaire. We sometimes go down to Lidl and Aldi and we won’t be able to get to now.
“I used to drive, but I can’t anymore because I’m on a state pension, so we can’t afford a car. We rely on the bus.
“We both have [health] problems. I have two knee replacements and I have spinal, shoulder and feet problems from arthritis. When I walk a distance, even a short distance I’m crippled.”
Patricia added: “Walking isn’t an option for us. I have cardiovascular disease, so I get a pain if I’m out walking. They’re not thinking.”
Joanne McKenna from the area said she would not be able to get to work in Tesco in Ballybrack under the new proposals.
“If the 45 goes the new route it won’t bypass Tesco, so it’s no good to me.”
Leanne Byrne works for the RTE creche and her current bus service would be more irregular, leaving every hour instead.
She said: “I’m going to probably have to get up at 4am or 5am in the morning to try and get the earliest bus to try and get on the next route. I’m going to be wrecked trying to get into work.”
Gabrielle O’Leary said: “The route that’s going to be abolished would impact on a lot of people. It’s another attack on the elderly.”
Elsewhere, Ballinteer community activist Sean McLoughlin has been engaging with residents of Llewellyn, Hillview, Dargle View and Marley Court said many in the area would be “without a bus route” under the new Bus Connects proposals.
He said he would like the submission cut-off date to be extended to allow people have their say.
President of the DLR Chamber and Chair of The Kilternan, Glenamuck & Carrickmines Residents Association Aileen Eglington said she believes there are good aspects to the plan but that more thinking is needed.
Among the issues, she believes Bus Connects has not considered the rural parts of the country such as Glencullen, Kilternan, and Enniskerry and that people with disabilities who will now have to get two buses have not been considered.
She also said: “It has not factored in tourism, and this is a key issue for DLR and for Wicklow. So, if they have no route from the city centre to The Dublin Way, The Wicklow Way and Powerscourt, I believe that is a disgrace.”
To have your say on Bus Connects, you can make a submission online at busconnects.ie or by email to [email protected]