Have your say on future of Wicklow bus routes

The National Transport Authority’s proposal to overhaul the entire bus network in the Greater Dublin Area, named Bus Connects, will open for public consultation from July 16th until September 14th.

Bus Connects proposes a number of fundamental changes to the network of bus services provided by Dublin Bus, including routes in Co Wicklow, by:
– Increasing the overall amount of bus services.
– Providing new and frequent orbital services connecting more outer parts of the city together.
– Simplifying the bus services on the key radial into “spines” where all buses will operate under a common letter -system and buses will run very frequently and be more evenly spaced.
– Increasing the number of routes where buses will come every 15 minutes or less all day.

The full plan is available to view on www.busconnects.ie.

A number of Wicklow representatives are encouraging the public to express their views during the consultation period, as a number of changes to routes in Co Wicklow are proposed, including Greystones and Bray.

Fine Gael

Fine Gael representatives Minister Simon Harris, Cllr Derek Mitchell and Local Area Rep Alice O’Donnell will hold three public meetings in Greystones, Kilcoole and Newcastle to ensure the community are informed about proposed changes and gather views on the plan.

Wicklow TD Minister Simon Harris: “Bus Connect will mean changes to bus routes in our community. There are always positives and negatives when such radical changes are proposed so we feel it is important to ensure the community know the full detail and have an opportunity to make their views known. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in the future of our local bus services to come to these meetings.”

Details of public meetings:
-Greystones, Whale Theatre, Thursday 26th July
-Newcastle Community Centre, Tuesday 7th August
-Kilcoole, Forrester’s Hall Wednesday 8th August

A survey has been also launched by the three FG reps to gather views from the community this week. You can share your views by visiting www.simonharris.ie

Wicklow TD and Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Sinn Féin

Wicklow’s Sinn Féin representatives have called the proposals a “mixed bag containing some positives, missed opportunities and some retrograde proposals”.

Bray Councillor Dermot ‘Daisy’ O’Brien: “Unfortunately the plan at this stage looks like both a missed opportunity and bad news for Bray.

“My colleague TD John Brady has long sought the establishment of a Bray loop service. Whilst not included in the initial proposals I believe there still is an opportunity to consider a local loop service for Bray, this would link key areas like the Seafront, Southerncross and Little Bray to Bray Town centre. The loop service could also include running a service back into the Fassaroe area, reinstating a route that was cut a number of years ago.

“In the current plan put forward we would also see a bus service to Palermo being cut, this is currently provided by the 185. A new loop service could incorporate the Palermo area but the idea of leaving Palermo or Fassaroe without any service does not represent an improvement for passengers whatsoever.”

Sinn Féin TD John Brady.

Greystones Cllr. Nicola Lawless:  “The proposed local loop of Greystones service is to be welcomed, I do think there is scope however to have the route expanded to cover Delgany and the Blacklion Manor Road where many local students attend schools. We should also be looking at the use of single decker buses; these would be more suitable for this type of service.”

Sinn Fein will be holding a public meeting on the proposals in the coming weeks “to ensure that all the concerns of the public are taken on-board during the consultation process”, according to TD John Brady.

Social Democrats

Greystones Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore welcomed some aspects of the proposal, but doesn’t believe they go far enough to “ensure villages and towns are connected outside the existing public transport network.”

“I’m concerned of the proposals removing direct bus routes to Dublin city centre outside peak times based on the premise that Bray and Greystones are already connected by the Dart line. I believe this to be short-sighted considering the congestion already experienced along the N11 and the need for more, not less bus routes on that road. People also use the N11 to connect to UCD, St. Vincent’s Hospital and places of work.

Social Democrats Councillor Jennifer Whitmore, General Election Candidate for Wicklow.

“Plans do include a route connecting Kiladrennan, Kilpedder and Newcastle however the frequency they recommend is 40 minute intervals and it remains unclear if people will have to reconnect in Greystones in order to get to the N11. This will need to be looked at closely.

“I believe that proposals depart from what local communities have been telling me for the past number of years and largely leaves out populations south of Greystones. Demand is there in Wicklow for an integrated public transport system linked up with Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann yet this remains outside the remit of this report.”

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