The Invisible Bus

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.

Any ideas?

Not quite the shot at Ticknock

Sometimes despite a lot of preparation, the photo you plan eludes you.

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Dublin Bus Volvo Olympian RV414 at Ticknock (click on any photo for fullsize version)

The bus is climbing Simon’s Ridge, having just left the 114 terminus in the development below, and is headed for the coastal village of Blackrock, where it meets with the DART rail service. Like the 102 on the northside, this is an official “DART feeder route” so through bus/rail tickets can be bought from the driver.

Just a few years ago, the only service that passed anywhere close to this spot was the infrequent single-deck 44B on its way to the mountain communities of Barnacullia and Glencullen. Now, as the city rapidly spreads up into the foothills of the Dublin Mountains, more regular bus services have followed.

This spot affords a fine view across the city below, and of Dublin Bay, and I’d wanted for a while to get a shot of a bus here with the city as backdrop.

It didn’t quite work out as I planned though, for reasons discussed below, and this view is to fuzzy and not exactly the one I wanted, though it is passable I suppose.

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When I positioned mself by the roadside to get the picture, I noticed that from my position, the 114 terminus was visible in the development down below. I would therefore easily be able to see when the bus was on its way up, and I grabbed a shot of it from afar with the city behind, as a csort of “bus in landscape” picture. Behind the apartments is the M50, though invisible here, and further back, and to the right of the picture, you can see a long way along Ballinteer Road, down as far as the junction of Ballinteer Avenue. In fact, at times I could see the buses turning from one to the other, so in theory it would be possible to have both a 14 and a 114 in the same shot, despite the fact that the two routes never meet!

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Here the bus is just pulling away from the terminus to come up to me, and I’ve included this shot because the red lorry above it nicely illustrates the position of the M50 motorway.

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Sometimes it just happens that no matter how long you wait, or how much you plan, something will ruin your shot. There had been no traffic for 10 minutes, but just as the bus hove into view, I could hear a car coming up behind me, and I knew that unless I went early, it would block the picture at exactly the wrong moment.

I had wanted the bus to be further towards me, just a little past the stop, so I would get both the city and the bay in the background. But I had to shoot early, and hope I could rescue the picture by cropping it in, which is what I did in the end, to produce the top shot of this page. Bit of a compromise though, as when you are cropping in to a more distant object, it is not as clear, and it also wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be.

Never mind, I shall come again one day and get a better picture, and if I’m lucky enough with sunlight I can use a faster exposure and have a slightly sharper image too.

Long awaited Sutton-Airport link launches

More than 2 years in planning, the merger of the 230/102 finally happens

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(click on any picture for fullsize) 

The new incarnation of the 102 bus route, formed from a merger of the old 102 and 230 routes, started running in North east Dublin this morning, opening a link from Sutton to Dublin Airport for the first time, as well as providing a Sunday service on the Malahide to Airport section which didn’t have one before.

The picture above shows Harristown’s AV164 operating the first westbound trip from Sutton, at 1035.

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While good, the merger of the two routes could have been better, and it is troubling that the opportunity to provide earlier services into the airport was missed. A huge number of people from this route’s hinterland work in the airport, and the first westbound services are far too late on every day of the week (and too late for people catching early flights also.

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The revamp does open extra possibilities for transport though, linking the airport to the Howth branch of the DART rail network as well as the main northern spur.

A good move to bring these routes together, but a huge missed opportunity in terms of catering for the early morning market.