Reimagining our network

Bus Network

The current system of bus routes and services in Dublin is complex. With about 130 different bus routes forming the Dublin Bus network, very few people would be able to describe the routes of more than a handful of those services and most users limit themselves to a few familiar routes.

In fact the foundations of much of the bus network dates back to tram routes that first ran in the 19th century! As a result, the bus network in Dublin is very radially focused, with most routes emanating outwards from the City Centre. Orbital bus services – routes that skirt the city – are few and far between. As a result, many bus journeys can only be made by firstly traveling into the City Centre on one radial route, and then taking another radial bus service out. Understandably, many people are not inclined to take the bus in these circumstances.

Connecting between one bus route and another as part of the same journey is part and parcel of public transport in cities around the world, but for historic reasons it is not really part of the public transport culture in Dublin. We believe that a system with greater scope for interconnection between routes, and where connecting passengers don’t necessarily have to travel to the city centre, is one that would be far more attractive and convenient.

We want to move towards a system that minimises the overall period of time needed for most journeys and focusses transfers onto high frequency routes, cutting down waiting and journey times.

While much has already been achieved by Dublin Bus in making the network more efficient, the bus system across the Dublin region has the potential to operate much more effectively than it currently does. This will require a fundamental reconfiguration of routes and services.

Under BusConnects we are undertaking a major redesign of the bus network. As part of this we will establish exactly what people want from their bus service; where they want to go and when they need to get there. In a process of extensive consultation, we will figure out the best way to apply the wide array of resources we have available to us: infrastructure, fleet, staff, road space, subvention funding, etc, in a way that not just meets the expectations of the travelling public, but actually makes shifting to the bus an attractive proposition for more and more people. The proposals that come out of this process are likely to be radical and transformational.

Fig 1: Complexity of current network (high-frequency routes only shown)