The Bus Connects team held a briefing with elected reps today in relation to the above routes as well as the W4.
Details and timetables here:
We were given the opportunity to ask questions about the rollout and my main questions related to the joining of the route from Newcastle towards Celbridge and also driver recruitment issues.
The NTA has been meeting with South Dublin County Council engineering staff with a view to sorting out the road width issue on the Newcastle-Celbridge Road adjacent to the Grand Canal bridge.
Apparently there's about 400 metres of the road shy of 6 metres in width and that is the minimum they need to work to. According to the NTA "we took a bus out to test it and when it went over bridge southwards it had to inch past - not even a bus - but a range rover."
The issue is more of a problem on the south side than the north side. It is exacerbated by the need to be able to integrate primary and secondary traffic signals at turns beside the canal as well as adjacent to local businesses, as well as provide sufficient viewing space.
The process will require a Section 38 public consultation feedback period and after that, once ground investigations are carried out and a detailed design is agreed, the work will need to be tendered. The current target is early 2024 but these types of works have been known to drag on.
This will be one of the longer stop systems in the country, slightly shorter than the one in Slane, over the River Boyne.
The 68 will not be removed as part of this process, but at a later stage when the L56 is introduced.
I also queried complaints about buses not showing up on earlier C routes which could have a similar impact on local routes in Clondalkin and Newcastle as well as the new orbital routes. While there are still issues with buses not appearing as scheduled, the agency claims that the situation has "improved dramatically" and that companies are currently meeting their service criteria whereby a set percentage of bus journeys need to be delivered on time, or else the companies face fines. The NTA has also clarified that companies do not get paid if the service fails to operate.