Government just can’t see the bus as a transport alternative, and often, neither can the travelling public, even if it’s right beside them.
There is quite a debate over on Garaiste at the moment about bus-v-tram choices, especially on the corridor from Heuston station to the city centre. The thrust is that both officials, and often the travelling public themselves, often ignore the bus as a viable alternative for travel.
The picture above (click on it for fullsize version) was taken by me one morning at Heuston, when disruption to the Red LUAS line was causing long gaps in service. Passengers were crowding the platform and had been waiting for nearly 20 minutes, with no sign of a tram coming, and yet buses on the 90, 91 and 92 routes were coming and going behind them almost empty.
Look at the picture closely. See how intently the people are peering up the track, anxiously waiting to see if a tram will appear in the distance. if only there were some other way for them to get into town . . .
I actually submitted this photo to a display at a photo club at work, with the caption “It’s Behind You!!”
There is talk of the bus services duplicating the Red Line from Heuston being cut back, which would be a great pity, because it is always good to have an alternative.
The bus does seem to be almost invisible in the minds of the casual travelling public. I was listening recently to someone who works in a business in Loughlinstown advising someone how to get there from Bray.
“There is no public transport link, so you’ll have to take the DART to Shankill and get a taxi from there” they were told . . .
No mention of the 45, 145, 84 which between them provide direct links from most parts of Bray to outside the door of this business, and which provide a combined frequency of less than 10 minutes from the centre of Bray.
Likewise the oft-heard claim that “there is no public transport link to Citywest” when in fact the business park is linked by more than half a dozen bus routes, including city centre services, local routes, commuter services from Co. Kildare, and LUAS shuttles, operated by a number of different companies.
The bus can be a great transport workhorse, and a vital backup to rail services during times of disruption, but we have to think of a way of opening people’s eyes to the services that are already there.
A real time information system would make a huge change to DB. Lots of people who don’t regularly use the bus don’t like standing at a pole on the side of a wind-swept road wondering if they’ll be waiting five minutes or fifty-five minutes.