Bus Éireann has announced details of a major expansion plan, set to transform public transport for commuters in Dublin and the Eastern region. A major increase in buses, routes and departures is planned.
The expansion is underpinned by Transport 21 - the government's ten-year infrastructure investment programme.
The key improvements in the Bus Éireann Expansion Plan include the introduction of -
* A new 'city-style service frequency' on all major Commuter routes into Dublin - with buses running as regularly as every 12 minutes throughout the day.
o Ashbourne/Dublin - a bus every 12 minutes all day
o Navan/Dublin - a bus every 15 minutes all day
o Naas/Dublin - a bus every 15 minutes all day
* A range of new services to provide more choice for commuters - e.g. new, direct hourly services connecting Dublin Airport with Commuter locations such as Navan/ Dunshaughlin, Newbridge/Naas, Mullingar/Enfield and Wicklow/Bray on a 'dawn-till-dusk' basis;
* New Fleet: The expansion in service and frequencies will be enabled by the introduction of 70 new buses and coaches - all low floor, wheelchair-accessible and bio-fuel compatible (including high capacity accessible double deck coaches).
Speaking at the launch of the plan, Dr John Lynch, Chairman of CIE and Bus Éireann said - "New buses provided to Bus Éireann under Transport 21 will enable us to deliver - in a very short time-frame - significant and tangible improvements for our customers in Dublin and the Eastern region. Buses will operate on a 12 minute frequency - not just at peak times, but throughout the day.
"New services will commence including direct connections between Dublin Airport and all the major commuter towns in Leinster and these will be provided on a modern fleet of low-floor wheelchair-accessible, bio-fuel compatible vehicles.
"The implementation of these plans is vital - not only if we want to provide for the needs of the next generation of commuters, but also if we want to reduce congestion, car usage, traffic volumes and, ultimately, carbon emissions in the Greater Dublin Area."
The Bus Éireann Expansion Plan is driven by the need to provide for a developing region. The recent fast-paced growth of commuter towns in the Eastern region around Dublin - such as Navan, Drogheda, Mullingar and Wicklow - means many are now effectively small cities and need to be planned for accordingly, through the provision of high-frequency departures and new services.
Changing work Patterns and lifestyles are also driving the demand for more services. The continued growth of shift-working and flexi-time, the longer hours that people work and the longer distance people travel to get to and from work, are creating a rising demand for transport outside of the traditional 9 to 5.
Bus Éireann is already catering for the off-peak market through innovations, such as its 2-hour service on the Dublin/Belfast route. It also operates one of the earliest Commuter services of all transport providers - at 05.20hrs on the Drogheda/Dublin route.
The intention with the Bus Éireann expansion plan is to further extend hours of operation and implement additional 24-hour services, in line with demand.
Benefits of the Bus Éireann Expansion Plan
The Expansion Plan benefits the Customer, Environment and the Community with -
* New Fleet - New buses and coaches for customers
* More Choice - New services - new routes - more often
* User friendly - Clock face departures - no complicated timetables
* Accessible - Low-floor wheelchair-accessible vehicles
* Green - Vehicles are bio-fuel compatible
* Less congestion - Plan will reduce car journeys by 2m per annum
* Value - Modest investment delivering major benefits
* Time Frame - Improvements can be implemented quickly.
The Bus Éireann Expansion Plan is underpinned by Transport 21. The plan represents a comparatively modest total investment of €55 million - the tangible benefits of which would be felt in a short time-frame, with fewer cars on the road and less congestion.
The funding provided by government for 75 new vehicles, under Transport 21, will enable Bus Éireann to implement Phase 1 of its development plan. These new buses are due for delivery from September 2007.
The provision of funding for an additional 90 vehicles (a total of 165) will enable the company to fully implement the Bus Éireann Expansion Plan in its entirety.