The preliminary business case for BusConnects is expected to be given the approval by Government Ministers at a meeting of Cabinet today, clearing the way for the project to go to the planning permission stage.
The expected approval will allow for the Core Bus Corridors, infrastructure element of BusConnects to be brought to the planning permission stage. The Dublin BusConnects project is to include around 200km of cycle routes and 230km of bus lanes.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) was supposed to submit the Core Bus Corridors to An Bord Pleanála last year, and minutes of NTA board meetings indicate the project was ready in January, it is unclear why the project or Cabinet approval was delayed.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan recently said that he wants to see the non-CPO elements of BusConnects and active travel projects to be implemented faster. It’s not clear if elements he mentioned such as bus gates and road space reallocation will be implemented ahead of the An Bord Pleanála process.
The Core routes are expected to be constructed in batches starting in 2024, 2026 and 2028. The first batch will be Clongriffin to City Centre; Blanchardstown to City Centre; Tallaght/Clondalkin to City Centre; and Bray to City Centre.
Workers are estimated to take two years per corridor, with the project “substantially complete” by 2030.
Feljin Jose, a spokesperson for the Dublin Commuter Coalition, a sustainable transport campaign group, said: “After four years of design and consultation, this is a massive step for the BusConnects project. This will allow for all twelve planning applications to finally be lodged to An Bord Pleanála. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the Clongriffin, Blanchardstown, Clondalkin/Tallaght, and Bray bus and cycle corridors begin construction in 2024.”
Government approval will also allow the NTA to start the the procurement process for modernising the ticketing system, including allowing contactless NFC payment using mobile phones.
Jose added: “We’re also looking forward to the new contactless and mobile ticketing equipment which can finally be procured now that the government is approving the BusConnects preliminary business case.”