Oifig and tAire Iompair – Press Release 

Government Gives Green Light to Dublin’s BusConnects

The Government gave the green light to the multi-billion BusConnects programme for Dublin today, paving the way for the National Transport Authority (NTA) to submit planning applications for the Core Bus Corridors to An Bord Pleanála.

BusConnects will transform the city of Dublin, providing a faster and more efficient bus service for everyone in addition to delivering improved cycling and pedestrian facilities. The programme means that the city will see an increase of nearly 25% in bus services.

Minister Ryan said: ‘This is an exciting day for public transport in the city. Commuters will have access to a faster, and more flexible service, allowing them to more quickly move about the city for work, school and pleasure. We will have cleaner and quieter streets, and with the additional roll-out of zero emissions buses, to be incorporated into the BusConnects routes, we can look forward to a much better quality of life for Dubliners and visitors to the city. This is yet another example of how Government is delivering on our commitments to put major investment behind public transport projects that will meet our climate ambitions, and make our cities more sustainable and healthier for future generations’

By 2030, BusConnects Dublin will deliver 230km of bus corridors and 200km of cycling lanes, providing safe, accessible, and efficient transport to a many more people, while reducing traffic congestion as well as noise and air pollution.

It will represent a step-change in the provision of cycling facilities, delivering safe, segregated cycling provision along some of the busiest cycling arteries across the city. Alongside this, a new network of bus services will be rolled out across the city, with high-frequency services running along nine new Spines, improved orbital services and increased local services. Cleaner and quieter streets will be another benefit.

The current fleet of buses in Dublin will be increased and converted to zero-emission fleet by 2035, meeting rising demand and saving the equivalent of circa 85,000 tonnes of CO2 a year in line with our Climate Action Plan targets. Buses and shelters will be modernised, increasing accessibility, ensuring safe and enjoyable trips for passengers.

Today’s decision by Government will also allow the NTA to start the tendering process for the procurement of Next Generation Ticketing technology, allowing simple payment of fares with credit and debit cards, which will allow a greater number of citizens to travel more easily and efficiently by public transport.

Minister Ryan added: ‘BusConnects will make travel much easier for many more people. Complex bus networks and fares will be replaced by an efficient, safe, and reliable system. High-capacity zero-emission bus services will operate with increased frequency, improving access to employment, education and healthcare for all users. Improved bus capacity, frequency and payment options will reduce crowding and improve the quality of service to all users, including vulnerable passengers.’

BusConnects Dublin will be delivered by the NTA.

Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA. welcomed Government’s decision stating “The NTA welcomes today’s decision by the cabinet to give clearance for BusConnects to proceed.  We believe that BusConnects is a game changer and will make a major contribution in terms of encouraging people on to public transport.

We want to provide a public transport service that delivers better on frequency and reliability so that it becomes more useful for more people in the years ahead, while at the same time, offering a sustainable alternative as part of the effort to tackle climate change.

The investment we are proposing through BusConnects is good news, but not just for bus passengers. Under our Core Bus Corridor plans we will be building 200km of cycle lanes on sixteen of the busiest bus corridors in and out of the city centre, and in so doing, making cycling safer and more attractive than ever before.”

Additional Information

Future Growth Enabler

BusConnects is a Key Future Growth Enabler for Dublin and assists in achieving multiple National Strategic Objectives listed in the National Planning Framework. BusConnects is a strategic investment priority under the National Development Plan 2021-2030.

Today’s Government announcement includes approval in principle for the overall BusConnects programme, and encompasses the following specific Public Spending Code decisions and next steps:

  • Decision Gate 1 – Approval for the initiation of the planning process for the Core Bus Corridors, to permit the NTA to submit planning applications to An Bord Pleanála.
  • Decision Gate 2 – Approval for the tender phase of Next Generation Ticketing, to permit the NTA to commence competitive dialogue with pre-qualified bidders.
  • Continuation of bus network redesign implementation and fleet renewal.

Up to nearly €4 billion investment

The final budget and delivery schedule for BusConnects Dublin will not be established until Decision Gate 3 – Final Business Case; currently, it is anticipated that expenditure on the programme out to 2030 will range from €2.62bn to €3.37bn (incl. VAT, escalation and contingency), to be funded through the National Development Plan. Given the scale of the programme, construction works will be phased to minimise disruption with construction works expected to take two years per corridor and all works are expected to be substantially complete by 2030. BusConnects Dublin is expected to result in the creation of 19,800 full-time equivalent jobs.

Traffic Management Measures

During construction, appropriate traffic management measures will be put in place to manage any temporary traffic disruption. In addition, there will be extensive and comprehensive communications arrangements to ensure all impacted persons are fully informed of the construction activities and the mitigation measures in place.

Next Generation Ticketing

Decision Gate 2 approval for Next Generation Ticketing, also announced by Government today, will permit the NTA to proceed with the procurement process and commence competitive dialogue with five pre-qualified bidders. Next Generation Ticketing will provide everyone with inclusive and accessible payment options for public transport and represents a shift towards mobility-as-a-service.

The bus network redesign will result in a circa 23% increase in bus services, increased evening and weekend services, 24-hour operations on some routes, and a 16% increase in the number of residents located within 400 metres of a frequent bus service to the city centre.

The Network redesign is currently underway with the H and C Spines successfully delivered in 2021. Delivery of G Spine (Ballyfermot) and Orbital routes will be delivered this year through funding provided by Budget 2022. The F-Spine (Finglas), E-Spine (Ballymun-Bray), and D-Spine (Malahide Road/Clongriffin) are expected to be delivered in 2023. The A-Spine (Swords), B-Spine (Blackrock), and remaining routes are estimated to be delivered in 2024.

Other Cities

BusConnects Dublin is the furthest progressed of the various BusConnects programmes, while the cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford will also see BusConnects programmes implemented in the coming years, with construction substantially complete in all five cities by 2030 – also funded by the National Development Plan 2021-2030. Public consultation on the corridor infrastructure proposals for BusConnects Cork is expected to launch in Quarter 2 of 2022.