Bus rapid transport still the ticket for Dublin says NTA

— Airport / Swords route may be downgraded to “conventional bus corridor upgrade”.

Bus rapid transport (BRT) routes from Blanchardstown to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght are continued to be planned for, while a third route to Swords may not be upgraded as much as originally planned.

The confirmation that the Swords / Airport route may take a step back from separating BRT and conventional buses could be good news for walking and cycling along the route. The previously proposed bus bay design — which was aimed at getting normal buses out of the way of BRT buses — was linked with compromising walking and cycling space.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said that no routes had been axed. The National Transport Authorty said that it continues to work on planning for the routes, but that because of the planned New Metro North, the Swords/Airport route may not get the scale upgrade first planned.

Sara Morris, spokeswoman for the authority, said: “Our draft Transport Strategy for the GDA (2016 to 2035) provides a framework for the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure and services in the GDA for the next two decades and includes consideration of BRT routes and bus priority measures. Under the draft Strategy it is intended to develop BRT schemes along routes forming part of the core bus network.”

While Dublin has slowly upgraded what is called its ‘core bus network’ bit by bit over many years, the BRT plan is designed to speed up progress in giving buses extra priority and capacity.

Morris said: “Two cross-city BRT schemes are currently proposed: Blanchardstown to UCD; and Clongriffin to Tallaght. The Government’s Capital Plan ‘Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021’ includes funding for planning and design work on the Blanchardstown to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght BRT routes.”

On the Swords / Airport route, she said: “The draft NTA Strategy for the GDA also states that on the Swords/Airport to City Centre corridor, it will be necessary to provide a higher level of public transport capacity than the existing provision, both in advance of New Metro North and also to serve areas south of the M50 subsequent to the implementation of New Metro North. This additional capacity will take the form of a BRT service, or a BRT type service, or a conventional bus corridor upgrade along this route or parts of this route.”

Adding: “The exact arrangements to be implemented will be determined in conjunction with the development arrangements for New Metro North, and will be designed to be complementary to the New Metro North proposal. Accordingly, a BRT scheme for the Swords / Airport to City Centre corridor is included for development in the NTA draft strategy, but its extent may be reduced or it may be modified to a conventional bus corridor upgrade, in conjunction with the development of the New Metro North.”

Details of how BRT was being planned for Dublin can be found at nationaltransport.ie/bus-rapid-transit.

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