A lobby group is warning that route changes under the Bus Connects overhaul of public transport will leave parts of north Fingal “cut off from Dublin”.
The Rush Bus Connects Group says the plan, as it stands, is “unfinished for Fingal” and “largely ignores anywhere north of Swords”, which spells disaster for the commuter towns of Rush, Lusk and Skerries.
A major sticking point for campaigners is the decrease in frequency for the numbers 33, 33A and 33X from 51 daily services to 39 – in particular, a drop in morning services from 17 to 10.
The first bus under the new regime would leave from Rush at 6.25am, compared to the current early departure of 5.13am, with the first express bus from Rush not departing until 6.50am.
A spokesperson for the group warned: “This is only the start of issues for our area … the same mistakes are being made again in hastily building thousands of houses without the infrastructure.
“There are currently 65,000 people living along the 33 route – an increase of 160% since 1991.
“Another 3,500 houses are currently in planning for Rush and Lusk, so expect more than 8,000 new residents within the next 18 months.”
Of the 20,000 submissions received by the National Transport Authority (NTA) on the last plan, the highest number related to the 33 route, while the third highest involved the 33X.
Some outlying towns which were close to losing their bus service have had them reinstated under the revised plan. These include Rathcoole, with a population of 4,300 people, and Enniskerry, which is home to 1,900 residents.
The NTA says the sprawling population distribution in north county Dublin prevents it from providing a full service, and refers to the coastal commuter belt as a “car-based society”.
Rush Bus Connects Group is urging locals to have their say before the extended deadline for submissions expires on December 10 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Meanwhile, public representatives in Dublin 15 are also expressing concerns about the revised plans, which would leave Blanchardstown village and the Clonsilla Road without an all-day direct link to the city centre.
Cllr Emer Currie (FG) warned: “These residents can’t be left behind.”
She suggested upgrading the new 365 from Luttrellstown from peak-only service to run all day, as it travels to the city centre via the Clonsilla Road and Main Street, Blanchardstown.
There are also concerns about the new bus hub at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and how this will impact on roads which are already heavily congested.