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fare city Curiosity and confusion greet launch of new Dublin BusConnects system

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Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham at the launch of the first phase of Bus Connects in Howth. Picture: Maxwells

Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham at the launch of the first phase of Bus Connects in Howth. Picture: Maxwells

Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham at the launch of the first phase of Bus Connects in Howth. Picture: Maxwells

A combination of curiosity and confusion greeted the launch of the new BusConnects network which had its maiden journey today on routes around the North-east area of Dublin.

The joint €2bn project between the National Transport Authority and Dublin Bus, the first leg which began today, saw the introduction of the H-Spine covering Malahide, Baldoyle and Donaghmede.

Along with Route 6, which covers Howth running a new route to the city centre along Watermill Road, these will replace the old 29a, 31, 31a, 31b and 32 routes.

Part of eight new ‘spines’ running from A to H, the plan originally sparked 70,000 submissions from the public after concerns over people’s front gardens being impacted and loss of minor routes.

The next phase of the new network, which includes 12 orbital routes, will be rolled out over an incremental basis with the C Spine towards Lucan to launch in the Autumn.

Buses are expected to run every four to eight minutes on certain routes with the NTA saying it will mean a 23pc increase in services.

Most passengers waiting in Raheny village today were aware the new system was coming into effect with many querying whether a re-jig on that particular branch was necessary, given that it was already working well.

Local couple Seamus and Olwyn Puirséil were keen to use their bus passes to try out the new 6 route first-hand “so we could see where it goes.”

Although an NTA worker was handing out leaflets at the village in the bus-stop, they said they found them confusing and it was easier just to hop on.

“We're getting this bus to find out where it goes,” said Olwyn. “I think the 6 goes down Watermill Road but it’s easier to just get on than read it off the leaflet and we were confused. It’s a lovely day so why not?”

She also welcomed the amendment of the northside route, which originally proposed a stop in Killester which “wouldn’t have worked at all.”

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Regular users of the route into the city centre, Seamus said the system was already “marvellous.”

“We would go anywhere that would take us, Cork, Limerick or Belfast or in and out of town. The new system took a little bit of figuring out and in general, the idea of the spine and the orbital routes is a good one. We’ll see how it settles down.”

Commuter Lee Travers from Raheny was aware of the new system after he saw a sign on the bus about the changing times and route names and had high praise for the Dublin Bus app as he boarded the H2 into Abbey Street.

"I get the bus all the time. It was a very good service before this but I think they’re putting on more buses. That’s what I saw on the news last week,” he said.

Passenger Angela Hughes said she would have liked to have seen the money spend on additional bus shelters and real-time display stands, giving Ireland’s inclement weather.

"They’re very good but they should be everywhere or a lot more places as well as bus shelters. That would go a long way to improve things. That would be my big complaint as I use the service a lot,” she said.

She added that she planned to use the bus service a lot more given her upcoming retirement.

Chigozirim Igwe had just boraded the H1 bus in Donaghmede and said it was noticeably quicker today and had been aware of the change as he saw the flyers on the bus last week.

"I was waiting four minutes. Sunday, you’re normally waiting about 20 minutes, 30 minutes sometimes. I usually get the bus every day,” he said.

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