Capacity issues on Dublin Bus have to be addressed by the company or there will be more cars clogging up Dublin city, a Fine Gael TD has warned.
Dublin North West TD Noel Rock said in line the economy recovering, public transport in the capital needs to keep up to speed with commuters’ needs.
“I’m a regular bus user and I notice, not just on my own route but across Dublin, it is frequently harder for passengers to get onboard buses at peak times. This can occur at peak times in the mornings on buses approaching the city centre.
“Once the bus is near the centre of town and packed with passengers, those who live inside the M50 find their bus is passing them by without stopping as the bus is full. This happens as far out as Finglas and Santry. Naturally, this leads to a lot of frustration with Dublin Bus passengers left standing at bus stops,” Deputy Rock said.
Some Dublin Bus passengers, including Leap card users, experienced a price hike at the beginning of the month as set by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
“I ask whether their customers are getting value for money. There was 128m passenger journeys in 2016 and the NTA said this should rise by 5% for this year (2017).
“What I want to know is how are Dublin Bus preparing for this. If we are already at a situation where passengers cannot get onboard buses at peak times, how much more worse can it get,” Deputy Rock asked.
Dublin Bus revenues increased from €228m to €236m (Dublin Bus Annual Report, 2016) last year.
“I have to question the NTA whether a price hike was necessary at all,” Deputy Rock said.
“Time and time again people have brought to my attention problems with how the Dublin Bus fleet is deployed. How many times have people been waiting at a bus stop during rush hour to be passed by a plethora of full buses?
“Dublin Bus is supposed to serve the entire community and not favour people from beyond the M50. I believe it needs to up its game closer to the city,” said the Fine Gael TD.
“Thousands depend on Dublin Bus to get to work every morning. Does the company have the required number of buses available to meet demand? No.
“Has it redeployed buses based on changing demand, for instance in areas where LUAS Cross City is amply covering it? No. Does it intend making any route or schedule changes in 2018? Incredibly, no. The stock answer from Dublin Bus is that this is a matter for the NTA – so the reality is one of them needs to pull the finger out here and make a call.
“The NTA are hiding behind their BusConnects project, but that project will only begin coming online in 2019, and that’s only parts of it. What are commuters supposed to do until then?
“This is a year round issue but it is particularly pertinent at this time of year. It’s cold, dark and wet. People don’t want to be waiting around, watching overcrowded buses go by, hoping one of them will stop.
“The commuters of Dublin would be better served by Dublin Bus, the NTA and the Minister pulling the finger out and making some overdue decisions here. Publishing glossy reports and hiding until at least 2019 simply isn’t good enough.
“Dublin Bus needs to sort out how it deploys its fleet, needs to be robust with the NTA and the Minister, and it needs to tell the NTA and the Minister that deferral of decisions until 2019 is completely unacceptable,” Deputy Rock said.