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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Emma Nevin

'Serious concerns' raised about BusConnects due to spike of no-show buses in north Dublin

A north Dublin councillor has raised "serious concerns" about a large number of no-show buses in the Ballymun and Finglas areas.

BusConnects Phase 3 launched in north Dublin in May and implemented two new orbital routes, the N4 and N6. The routes were designed to link suburbs together without having to travel through the city centre and replaced the 17a and 31d.

However, locals have reported a large amount of delayed or no-show buses that is a result of a "chronic shortage of drivers". Independent Councillor for Ballymun-Finglas Noeleen Reilly said problems with buses is "the number one issue" that residents have contacted her about during the last week.

Read more: Full details of Phase 4 BusConnects changes launching next month

She said: "This has meant people are late for work and children late for school and then they cannot get home. The last bus at night-time has been cancelled altogether on regular occasions. This is not acceptable for people.

"We are trying to encourage everyone to use public transport and leave the car at home but how can they if there is a chance the buses will not show up."

Councillor Reilly said the issue is affecting both Dublin Bus and Go-Ahead routes in the area. "This is affecting both Dublin Bus and Go-ahead which operate several routes in Ballymun and Finglas," she said. "I have contacted both and they have advised me that this is due to a severe shortage of drivers, and they are struggling to recruit as there is so much competition out there."

She added that she has "serious concerns" about the implementation of BusConnects is drivers can't be attracted to the current routes and said adding more buses onto to this is "only going to put greater pressure on the service".

A spokeswoman for the National Transport Authority confirmed to Dublin Live that the issues with the buses is due to challenges in recruiting drivers and said the bus industry has been "particularly hit" following the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: "The National Transport Authority is in regular contact with bus operators, who are making every attempt to recruit more drivers so that all services can run as scheduled. The Authority formally meets Go-Ahead Ireland and Dublin Bus on a weekly basis to review performance, and driver recovery plans.

"Operators have undertaken extensive driver recruitment campaigns in recent months and significant numbers of additional drivers are expected to become available once their required training and tests are complete and licences are issued by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). In addition the Authority has undertaken a national advertising campaign to attract bus drivers to the industry.

"The impact of shortfalls in driver numbers is felt the most when low-frequency services are cancelled or when the first and last services of the day are cancelled. The Authority and operators have been working to ensure that such cancellations are minimised, that – where possible – consecutive low frequency services are not withdrawn, and that first and last daily services on a route operated.

"The Authority apologises to passengers for the inconvenience that the current poor service performance is causing them. Operators are forecasting significant improvements in reliability in the coming months, dependent on successful recruitment and retention of critical staff, in particular drivers."


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