We need a viable public transport system?

Or do we have one already? At least inside the M50?

Though I was being a bit of a devils advocate, we had an interesting conversation amongst my “real work” colleagues during last week. I ended up defending our Dublin public transport system against the attacks of my colleagues who claimed that it was woefully insufficient (as is the popular opinion these days).

Dublin has a comprehensive set of train connections – north to south, and using the Luas has an east to west rail connection also. It also has a very comprehensive bus network – so much so that the buses clog themselves up in the city centre each morning (though I have referred to that being a major issue in the past).

For most parts of the city, you can access public transport within 10-15 minutes walking distance. That it might not be your preferred mode of transport is actually your issue, not the transport providers.

This, I think, is a major difficulty for most people when it comes to Dublin Bus. For many people, up until recently they were too posh to shop in Lidl or Aldi – and these people are similarly unwilling to take the bus.

As an example, one colleague bemoaned the fact that there wasn’t sufficient parking spaces at his local DART station, despite the fact that there is a bus route outside his front door.

I also think that we in Dublin have unrealistic expectations when it comes to public transport. It’s very rare in any city in the world to have a comprehensive “point to point” public transport network that suits the majority of the cities population. It’s normal to have to take one or two modes of transport, or to have to change between services, to make it to your chosen destination.

There are issues, obviously (such as the bus gridlock on O’Connell street), but I personally don’t think that our Dublin public transport is as bad as many people make out.

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3 Responses to We need a viable public transport system?

  1. Colm December 9, 2008 at 08:01 #

    It would be nice to upgrade the 3rd world bus network that exists outside the M50 before investing in a multi billion euro Metro, to complement the expanded Luas to add to the existing Luas which provides an alternative to Dublin Bus which is backed up by the DART.

    Note to the government: Most people in this country live OUTSIDE the M50. Please stop asset stripping our schools and hospitals to pay for more transportation systems in Dublin.

  2. Margaret December 9, 2008 at 14:18 #

    I agree that public transport isn’t as bad as some say. It depends where you live.

    Some of those who critisise public transport wouldn’t know a bus if they saw one as they drive every where. What we have is a car culture.The car you have defines you in the eyes of many people. Buses are for ‘other’ people.

    I have a problem with the cost of public transport. Fares going up again in the New Year. Like many public transport users I also have a car. I only use it when I dont have a public transport alternative. But I have to tax ,insure and service that car even though I dont use it much. If public transport is expensive, car owners who are not particularly environmentally minded cannot be blamed for using their cars as it may be more cost effective for them. If people switch to cars, fares go up to make up the lost income and/or bus services are curtailed – this leads to more people using their cars and public transport becoming a less attractive option, and gridlock gets worse.

  3. colm farrell December 18, 2008 at 23:45 #

    I’d have to disagree with you on your public transport comments:

    Practically all bus routes go to the city centre. Thus to travel from the Northside to another Northside destination, or Southside to Southside required two full bus journeys, one into town and another one back out. With possibly a considerable walk between the 2 city centre terminuses.

    No Sunday morning services before 10 am. Which screws you if you are coming home after working a night shift.

    No info on whereabouts of next bus. At least most train stations have an electronic notice board with real time travel updates. Except Drogheda of course.

    Standing room only on commuter trains. This is acceptable on DARTs because passengers are constantly getting on and off. So a seat should materialise quite soon. Try standing for 45+ minutes in the morning on the Drogheda line and see how your performance at work suffers from lack of enthusiasm.

    Six carriage DARTs at rush hour. Was I the only one who rejoiced when Ronnie Drew passed away. At least no more lies from him. Also short trains on a Friday e.g. Longford train which is standing room only from Pearse usually has 8 carriages. On Fridays there are only 6 carriages. Does Iarnrod Eireann believe that 25% of us don’t attend work on Friday?

    Parking charge rip-off. It not like all commuters can walk to stations. Rush&Lusk / Gormanston stations are in the middle of nowhere. It’s €2 per day or €8 per week. You can pay the €8 but there no parking space guaranteed.

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