Saturday, April 24, 2010

The future of Dublin Bus

It looks like there are big changes coming to the Dublin Bus route network over the next few months.

Dublin Bus plans to "increase efficiency and frequency, with a five-minute waiting time between services". Good, though my bus is scheduled to run every 20 minutes and in the evening waits of an hour to an hour and a half would not be uncommon. There is a big difference between aiming to run a bus every 5 minutes and achieving it in Dublin traffic. I fear that the solution Dublin bus will opt for in some areas is to avoid traffic bottle necks completely which would remove the current bus service from many parts of Dublin. I'd rather have a bus that serves my area every 30 or 40 minutes than a bus every 5 minutes but with the bus stop miles away on the N11.

"The overall number of routes is to be increased, but some existing routes will be straightened out with fewer diversions off quality bus corridors, while others will be combined." Sounds good again in theory but as with my previous point does this mean that many busses will run on main routes only and will not divert into housing estates or down side roads as they do at the moment? That actually reduces the service for many people especially the elderly or those with mobility difficulties.

Finally "A real-time passenger information service will also be rolled-out later this year". Very good and I hope Dublin Bus have the sense to make this freely available online and to open up the API so that developers writing applications for iPhones and other smartphones will be able to write apps to allow consumers to look up the location and timing of different busses at home and on mobile phones without having to go to bus stops.