Social Democrats local election candidate for Baltinglass, Dave McGinn, has criticised the Dublin Bus 65 bus route, which he says is “not adequately serving West Wicklow.”
In a post on his official campaign Facebook page – which quickly attracted thousands of views, and dozens of comments and shares – the Blessington resident shared his experience of the bus having passed himself and other commuters at the bus stop on their way home that evening.
“I don’t get the 65 bus to work too often anymore because it’s so unreliable, but I got it today and sure enough – it was full before it crossed the canal at Rathmines heading back to Ballymore. So I’m currently waiting an hour for the next one. I left work at 5:30pm, and I’ll be lucky to be home before 8pm.”
The Facebook post quickly gained traction, with a number of commenters sharing their own dissatisfaction with the service. One commenter, Zena Carey, said, “I now drive halfway to my destination to make sure I’m not left stranded for a couple of hours. Students between the ages of 11 and 18 have been left at the bus stop outside Our Lady’s School because there’s not enough room. The bus is causing havoc in the lives of young people.”
“These students, along with college students, workers, and people wanting or needing to get to and from town have to wait anything between 1 hour and 3 hours to get on the bus, and there is always a need to have a back up plan. Public transport is meant to make life easier [and to] decrease the number of cars on the road; unfortunately this is not the case if you’re commuting from Blessington. More and more people are driving because they can’t rely on the 65.”
The 65 bus route travels from Poolbeg Street in Dublin city centre, along the N81 through Tallaght, and on to Blessington and Ballyknockan. It is the only public transport option directly connecting West Wicklow to Dublin. A recent survey commissioned by Wicklow County Council found that the overwhelming majority of West Wicklow commuters drive to work, and that 67% are unhappy with their commute. The 65 bus service has been criticised in particular due to its lack of frequency, with one hour between bus departures at peak times and two hours off peak times. Commenting on the need for a more frequent service, Mr McGinn said:
“I think it’s already justified, but certainly as the population of Blessington continues to grow with young families and commuters, the need for better public transport will become more urgent.”
“This is a major irritation for me, but for parents with young children it might mean the kids are asleep before they get home, or if they’re not then you’re probably too frustrated and exhausted to enjoy your time with them. This is a quality of life issue – commuting from West Wicklow to Dublin is already a pain without it being compounded by poor service.”
The local election candidate says he plans to start a petition calling for additional buses at peak times.
“If we can demonstrate enough demand then Dublin Bus will have to provide a better service.”