Robert Dowds, the Labour local election candidate for the Clondalkin/ Rathcoole ward, has called on transport authorities to be responsive to the transport needs of the general public. Due to climate change and the increasing traffic gridlock in the greater Dublin area, it is essential that our public transport authorities do all in their power to make it easy to use their services.

An example of how they are not doing that came to my attention recently. In early April, a frustrated bus commuter based in Rathcoole, asked me to write to Bus Éireann to get them to place a stop for commuters on the N7 at Rathcoole. The main reason for this request was that it would shorten the journey between Rathcoole and the City Centre by up to three quarters of an hour because such a bus would not have to enter Main Street, Rathcoole which is gridlocked at rush hour. The reply from the CEO of Bus Éireann would make you tear your hair out. To quote him: ‘Any timetable or service changes……… is a matter of consideration for the National Transport Authority. In addition, the direct operation of services between Dublin City Centre and Rathcoole comes under the remit of Bus Átha Cliath.’ In other words, there’s no willingness to address the problem the commuter faces each day.

In the early 1990’s I was part of a delegation which met Iarnród Éireann which asked them to reopen the Phoenix Park tunnel so that commuters from Clondalkin could get directly into the City Centre by train. We were assured then that that was impossible due to congestion on the last stretch of the line into Connolly Station. Yet, low and behold, in 2019, some commuter services do use this route. Why did it take nearly 30 years to bring this about? And by the way, a service like this shouldn’t just be at rush hour! Transport providers, please be responsive to the needs of Dublin’s hard-pressed commuters. In conclusion, Dowds said it remains to be seen whether or not the Bus Connects consultations will seriously respond to our needs. Let’s hope so.