NTA’S BusConnects plan will transform the bus system in Dublin

15 June 2017

Opening Statement by Anne Graham, CEO, to Commercial Property Summit, Aviva Stadium

All economic activity results in people moving and travelling whether it is to travel from home to work, home to school, home to the gym or the cinema or sports ground. We’re a nation on the move and we make on average 3.2 trips per day and the highest concentration of those trips is made in the morning peak. These total number of trips are increasing as the economy recovers and is estimated to increase by 25% in 20 years.

The role of the National Transport Authority is to plan for this travel demand and to ensure that as many of those trips are made by sustainable modes as possible. But there are many things working against us in achieving that objective:

  • Dispersed development of the city region which increases the journey time of our essential trips
  • Development of a low density city which is hard to serve by high capacity public transport
  • Inconsistent funding of transport infrastructure

What have we done to address this?

Key development was the adoption of the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area in 2016. This sets out the plan for transport developments to support the local and regional authorities land use plans for the region. It supports the integration of land-use and transport planning which if implemented would result in a more attractive and liveable city region.

What do we need to do?

In developing the city to compete globally there are a number of things that we must do:

  • Reduce the need to travel by building housing and employment centres closer together
  • Plan new developments adjacent to both existing and proposed public transport
  • Think about how people will access new developments by public transport
  • Get investment in land transport as a percentage of GDP back to steady state levels of just over 1% (it is currently 0.5%)
  • Direct that increased investment to improvements in public transport

The rail projects such as Metro North and the DART Expansion Programme have long lead-in times and they are recognised in the government’s current capital plan.

However congestion continues to grow in the city. The traffic level at the M50 toll has increased by 18% in the last 2 years. The average journey time in the morning peak has increased by 13% in 2016 compared to 2015. The cost of this congestion to the Dublin region is €350m per year currently and will rise to €2bn in 2033 if nothing is done to address it.

The immediate priority of the NTA is to transform the bus system and we have published the BusConnects programme in the last few weeks which sets out how we can radically improve the bus system for a spend of €1bn. This programme would deliver:

  • A network of “next generation” bus corridors on the busies bus routes to make buses faster, more predictable and more reliable;
  • Introduce Bus Rapid Transit on three of the busies corridors
  • A complete redesign of the bus network – this work has commenced already
  • Cashless payment system to speed up boarding
  • State-of-the-art ticketing system to allow credit and debit card or mobile payments linked to payment accounts to make payment more convenient
  • Simplifying the fare structure
  • Implementing a new modern bus livery
  • New bus stops with better information
  • Transition to a low emission fleet

It’s the only way forward to keep the city moving and keep the city’s economy growing.