Yesterday 5 September myself and Cllr Hazel de Nortuin, met with the Deputy CEO of the National Transport Authority in Leinster House. His name is Hugh Creegan.
We raised the issues that communities have presented to us on the problems with the local public transport that will result from the new Bus Connects Plan.
Mr. Creegan admitted that the Plan is not perfect, that they hope to find out through the public consultation process where there are weaknesses etc.
He also acknowledged “Hands up” that they had “messed up in Drimnagh” and that it would have to be reviewed and changed. That they would have to look at connection between Drimnagh and James Hospital, between Drimnagh and schools attended by local children
In Crumlin he agreed that there needs to be a review of the routes so that there is a link between Crumlin, Rathmines and Camden Street.
In Ballyfermot, we strongly emphasised the need for the bus service to be maintained through Lower Ballyfermot, a link with Heuston Station and links with schools in Clondalkin and Tallaght Hospital. And we need to keep the 18 route. He agreed a number of those areas would be looked at again.
In Chapelizod he acknowledged the need for a more frequent service and that this also would be reviewed.
On the overall issues of the attempt to privatise Dublin Bus, we indicated to him a very strong oppostion throughout the communities to any moves to privatise our bus service.
Already 10% of Dublin Bus routes will be taken over by Go Ahead in the next couple of weeks, in a deal already done and agreed. One of those routes is the 18 but we have been assured that the same route will remain, the same timetable and the same fares. What will change is the company running the bus. And that 18 route will continue until at least 2020, the earliest date when the new Bus Connects Plan will kick in.
We informed the NTA of the strength of feeling in the communities and it was obvious that they are very aware of this.
This meeting with the NTA showed me that our opposition so far is having an impact on the NTA and their plans.
On the overall aspect of Orbital Routes and Bus Corridors there are some very good proposals in the NTA plan.
But the real tangible problems still remain – the hugely negative impact on working class communities where buses may be removed or rerouted from the daily services that we need to access. And the future threat to privatisation of the buses.
This is especially harsh on our senior citizens, people with disability and mobility issues, school children and families with small babies and prams.
WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
We need to keep up the pressure, attending local meetings, protests and making our submissions for the case to keep local bus services.
The next public consultations in this area will take place on
- Tuesday 11 Sept in Richmond Barracks Inchicore 3pm to 7pm
- Wednesday 19 Sept in Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre 3pm to 7pm
Ballyfermot and Chapelizod will gather together at 3.30pm outside the 79 Pub (appropriately !!) and march together to the Civic Centre. Please join us and bring your submission and/ petitions along. Well done everyone. The NTA say that they have tens of thousands of submissions so far. Keep it up.