Two major Dublin bus route upgrades set for funding

— Projects will effect cycling conditions on the routes

Funding for two major bus route upgrades in Dublin were included in the government’s capital plan, the minister for transport has confirmed in the Dail this week. Such projects could mean cycling upgrades on the same routes but, in recent years, large public transport projects have also stalled or blocked cycling improvements in the city centre.

“Funding for the Blanchardstown to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght BRT projects is included in the capital plan,” said transport minister Paschal Donohoe. He also confirmed that a third planned route from Swords to St Stephen’s Green is shelved because government want to go ahead with a revised Metro North along much the same route.

The planned Capital Investment Plan runs from 2016-2021 and may depend on future government/s.

While the planned projects in Dublin are called BRT or “bus rapid transit“, the indications so-far is that the bus upgrades planned in Dublin would not meet at least some international standards for BRT because of a lack of segregation from general traffic. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy states that one of the key requirements for BRT is “Bus-only lanes aligned to the middle, not the curb, of a road” — while, in Dublin so-far, BRT has been shown with kerb-side drawings and illustrations.

MAP: Shows the city centre sections of the routes between Blanchardstown and UCD (blue), Clongriffin and Tallaght (purple), and Swords to St Stephen’s Green (green, now-shelved)

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Referring to the Blanchardstown to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght routes, the minister Donohoe said: “Funding is included to proceed with those projects. As they are massive projects in their own right, they will take time to deliver. Regarding the Swords to Dublin BRT project, now that I have made a decision to proceed with the metro transport choice, I need to work back from that to determine the right form of bus transit to meet the needs that will exist before the metro opens in 2026 or 2027 and to accompany the metro when it is operational.”

He added: “The National Transport Authority is looking at that matter at the moment. It will make proposals in this regard. I would say that some of the projects we have done were worth going ahead with in their own right. I refer, for example, to the change that was made to remove a pinch point at the Cat & Cage on the Drumcondra Road. Regardless of the development of BRT, the removal of that pinch point was the right choice to make. It was the right project. Similar projects will be going ahead.”

The minister was responding to questioning on the status of the projects by Dessie Ellis, a Sinn Fein TD for Dublin North West. Deputy Ellis said: “I agree with the Minister that there has been a massive improvement at the Cat & Cage in Drumcondra, which had been a bottleneck for many years. If we were to proceed with some form of BRT, it would facilitate such projects. We will probably need some supplementary measures while we are waiting for the metro line to the airport to kick off. I acknowledge that there have been some big improvements.”

MORE: Dáil debates, Wednesday, 11 November 2015: Public Transport Initiatives


  1. Belfast BRT plans completely ignore cycling as a transport mode. Cyclists are expected to ride in BRT lanes. But obviously, bus lanes are not cycle infrastructure. BRT is designed to speed up bus journeys. This is not a good thing if you’re a cyclist in front of a bus with a timetable to keep.
    It’s important that cycling is included properly, giving separation where needed. The halts need to be bypassed on the pavement side and secure bike racks provided to allow multi-modal journeys.
    Cyclists need a strong voice at the outset, so cycling is designed into the plans and costed in the basic spec, rather than treated as an awkward add-on, bodged, fudged and dangerous to use.


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