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Dublin - BusConnects

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  • I think people are thinking too much into this whole Short Hop fare and how it will be "calculated"

    You tag on at the driver's reader if you just want to take a single bus journey.
    You tag on at the right for a journey where you plan to utilise another bus, Luas or DART within 90 minutes.

    Now I know what you're going to say,
    "What if someone is going end to end on the bus for the whole length and just pay for the short journey?"

    My answer is, so what? The very fact that we're moving to a time-based ticket instead of a length confirms to me that the NTA isn't going to lose sleep over people paying for a bus journey and staying on longer than they should. Maybe it shouldn't be referred to as a Short journey but a Bus Only journey.

    The NTA has already stated that if you tap on for a "short" journey on the bus, get off, go shopping and then get on a bus Luas or DART within the 90s minutes, it will convert into a 90 minute fare so you won't pare for two short journeys.

    The point being if you tag on with the driver, the NTA are expressly intending that you don't interact with the driver at all so you don't have to tell him where you're going, so no journey has to be calculated, you'll pay the bus only fare (probably €1.50/€2) and you get off when you want. If you want to get on another bus luas or dart, then you get charged another €1 to upgrade to a 90 minute ticket.

    I honestly don't think there will be a need to calculate distance or stages because that would require driver interaction which getting rid of is the precision reason for the next generation ticketing project




  • A flat fare was never really an option imo. Dublin’s suburbs are heavily reliant on the bus networks to get to their respective centres; Ongar to Blanch, Jobstown to The Square etc. Pushing the fare to a fiver for a round trip would have been scandalous really.




  • That is actually 20 km from O'Connell Bridge, not 3 km.

    Apologies, the share function most not work well, I had 3km selected when I clicked on the share link. Just adjust down to 3km so.




  • The point being if you tag on with the driver, the NTA are expressly intending that you don't interact with the driver at all so you don't have to tell him where you're going, so no journey has to be calculated, you'll pay the bus only fare (probably €1.50/€2) and you get off when you want. If you want to get on another bus luas or dart, then you get charged another €1 to upgrade to a 90 minute ticket.

    This is the important piece of information that you hadn't answered until now.

    It hasn't been clear how much interaction would be needed with the driver or not. If the intention is to just quickly tag on, even for the short fare, with zero interaction with the driver, then it should be ok. Still a bit overly complex, but a big improvement over the current situation.

    Though I would like to see a validator placed in front of the cash chute (eventually replace it). Getting your ticket on the drivers machine is a bit awkward and will slow things down.

    If they are going to do this, it should be done properly. Don't get me wrong, it is great news to finally get this 90 minute ticket, as long as it is well thought out and implemented well.

    Though it does leave the question of fare evasion and who will enforce it. Is the NTA planning to rollout more inspectors like the Luas, etc.

    Also another unanswered question is will this new "short zone" be bigger then the current stage 1 to 3.




  • bk wrote: »
    If they are going to do this, it should be done properly. Don't get me wrong, it is great news to finally get this 90 minute ticket, as long as it is well thought out and implemented well.

    Though it does leave the question of fare evasion and who will enforce it. Is the NTA planning to rollout more inspectors like the Luas, etc.

    Also another unanswered question is will this new "short zone" be bigger then the current stage 1 to 3.

    I think it would make sense to have just two tickets. The 90 min fare (say €2.75) used for multiple journeys over the 90 mins inc Luas and Dart and the single bus journey fare (say €1). Obviously, this gets over the need for ticket inspectors as everyone entering the bus has to validate their ticket.

    It would also make sense to make it cashless.

    New machines would make sense that were faster and a single validator - with a simple choice of ticket required.

    Make the buses cheap and fill them up - every full bus reduces the number of people in cars which allows the bus to travel quicker.


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  • I think people are thinking too much into this whole Short Hop fare and how it will be "calculated"

    You tag on at the driver's reader if you just want to take a single bus journey.
    You tag on at the right for a journey where you plan to utilise another bus, Luas or DART within 90 minutes.

    Now I know what you're going to say,
    "What if someone is going end to end on the bus for the whole length and just pay for the short journey?"

    My answer is, so what? The very fact that we're moving to a time-based ticket instead of a length confirms to me that the NTA isn't going to lose sleep over people paying for a bus journey and staying on longer than they should. Maybe it shouldn't be referred to as a Short journey but a Bus Only journey.

    The NTA has already stated that if you tap on for a "short" journey on the bus, get off, go shopping and then get on a bus Luas or DART within the 90s minutes, it will convert into a 90 minute fare so you won't pare for two short journeys.

    The point being if you tag on with the driver, the NTA are expressly intending that you don't interact with the driver at all so you don't have to tell him where you're going, so no journey has to be calculated, you'll pay the bus only fare (probably €1.50/€2) and you get off when you want. If you want to get on another bus luas or dart, then you get charged another €1 to upgrade to a 90 minute ticket.

    I honestly don't think there will be a need to calculate distance or stages because that would require driver interaction which getting rid of is the precision reason for the next generation ticketing project

    Some of us are very interested in the detail of this sort of thing for the very simple reason that plenty of great ideas have come along in the past only to be diluted by poor attention to the details.

    Getting the high level stuff right is important, but getting the micro stuff right too is also important, as failing to do so can turn a good idea into a shambles.




  • It would also make sense to make it cashless.

    New machines would make sense that were faster and a single validator - with a simple choice of ticket required.

    Yes, according to previous NTA presentation that is the plan. New machines + ccontactless debit card and smartphone support + remove cash.

    Though I think 90 minute tickets is happening first without the above and the above will then be phased in over a few years. I'd say another few years before cash is gone.
    Make the buses cheap and fill them up - every full bus reduces the number of people in cars which allows the bus to travel quicker.

    I agree, but we would need a lot more buses (and depots + drivers) to do that. Pre-covid at peak times buses were already jam packed, reducing fares without increasing buses wouldn't help other to leave a lot of people standing at bus stops as buses drive by full.

    What might make sense short term, is to reduce the off-peak fare to €1 or whatever, get more people using buses off-peak and maybe even take some pressure off peak times.




  • bk wrote: »

    What might make sense short term, is to reduce the off-peak fare to €1 or whatever, get more people using buses off-peak and maybe even take some pressure off peak times.

    make PT free on Sundays, trial it over the summer.




  • LXFlyer wrote: »
    Some of us are very interested in the detail of this sort of thing for the very simple reason that plenty of great ideas have come along in the past only to be diluted by poor attention to the details.

    Getting the high level stuff right is important, but getting the micro stuff right too is also important, as failing to do so can turn a good idea into a shambles.

    The original Leap card project is itself a perfect example of this. The card itself and the technology around it is mostly fine, but overall the project has greatly under delivered on it's potential, in particular to deliver meaningful reduction in dwell and journey times.

    And it failed to do so because they failed to change the broken stage fare ticket system and failed to consider and test how the leap cards would actually be used on the buses and how slow the driver interaction is.

    I really hope the same mistakes aren't made again.




  • loyatemu wrote: »
    make PT free on Sundays, trial it over the summer.

    The last time they tried free travel days is was a bit of disaster. Gangs of trouble making teenagers travelled the length of the network. Regular, fare paying commuters hated it and it was never tried again.

    I think trying a reduced fare would be better then free fares. It helps reduce such trouble making.

    The kids travel free scheme in the summer that has happened the past few years is also nice. As it requires an adult present.


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  • MJohnston wrote: »
    Seems to me it’d be fairly easy to program in the distance from stop X to stop Y - you could give each stop a latitude-longitude value, which would only add around 2 bytes per stop. That’s 2 kilobytes per 1000 stops, which is a minuscule amount of memory, even if the whole machine only has even 1MB thats 0.2% of available memory per 1000 stops (how many does Dublin have?)

    Then the distance between two stops is just simplified to the distance between their geopoints. That’d favour the customer if the as-the-crow-flies distance is less than the actual travelled distance, but that would be minimal between most stops. And it could never be the other way around (crow-flies distance being the shortest possible connection between two points).

    I’d be happy with that system. It could be easily marked on network maps and apps, because each stop would have a circular radius to display, rather than some unnecessarily complex distance-by-road map.

    You have to remember that this is a stop gap for 2 years because the NTA completely dropped the ball on buying new ticket machines. The new system is designed to work with the existing old testament Wayfarers without too much work until the new machines arrive in 2023. They'll be working on rolling out the new machines in just over a year after they implement this so they'll implement whichever system they can get away with doing the least work on.




  • bk wrote: »
    The original Leap card project is itself a perfect example of this. The card itself and the technology around it is mostly fine, but overall the project has greatly under delivered on it's potential, in particular to deliver meaningful reduction in dwell and journey times.

    And it failed to do so because they failed to change the broken stage fare ticket system and failed to consider and test how the leap cards would actually be used on the buses and how slow the driver interaction is.

    I really hope the same mistakes aren't made again.

    How the companies were funded was the real reason for that, and funding from DoT, and the wish by the NTA not to cause a shock to their finances or indeed to customers by making a rapid change to fares.

    To be fair, I would argue that the staged fare system was not broken as such, as it is an equitable one, but it doesn't lend itself at all to shorter dwell times when there are more than two fares in operation. It could continue to be a basis for a short and a long fare as you suggest with different fares on the left and right validators.




  • As an example of the impact of getting the details right.....

    One aspect of BusConnects that is coming for Dublin Bus routes are the fixed timetables that have a fixed schedule for every stop all along the route. Until now DB have regularly changed the stop-by-stop times in the background to reflect the prevaling traffic conditions. That's going to change to either two or three fixed timetables during the course of the year I believe (summer, autumn, and possibly winter/spring).

    These are already in place on GoAhead routes, and I understand why, but I do rather worry that mediocrity is going to flow as a result/

    The premise is that the companies get penalised if they are more than a minute early at stops, or are more than six minutes late.

    That means that they need to get the stop-by-stop running times right. But the penalties may well encourage the companies to be conservative in their timings.

    Yesterday morning I took two trips on a GoAhead route. For the entire trip in both cases, the bus barely got out of second gear, and on both trips it waited at stops due to being early until it was back on time. On the second trip it waited to get back on time twice, and one of the waits was for almost four minutes. That's not been a particularly unusual experience for me on GAI routes.

    In this case the timings are too generous, but I do have to wonder if the company is doing it deliberately to avoid the risk of penalties.

    Either way I cannot imagine too many people being tempted out of their cars if the buses are regularly going to continue to crawl along the route and potentially wait at various locations en route until they are on time again.




  • LXFlyer wrote: »
    As an example of the impact of getting the details right.....

    One aspect of BusConnects that is coming for Dublin Bus routes are the fixed timetables that have a fixed schedule for every stop all along the route. Until now DB have regularly changed the stop-by-stop times in the background to reflect the prevaling traffic conditions. That's going to change to either two or three fixed timetables during the course of the year I believe (summer, autumn, and possibly winter/spring).

    These are already in place on GoAhead routes, and I understand why, but I do rather worry that mediocrity is going to flow as a result/

    The premise is that the companies get penalised if they are more than a minute early at stops, or are more than six minutes late.

    That means that they need to get the stop-by-stop running times right. But the penalties may well encourage the companies to be conservative in their timings.

    Yesterday morning I took two trips on a GoAhead route. For the entire trip in both cases, the bus barely got out of second gear, and on both trips it waited at stops due to being early until it was back on time. On the second trip it waited to get back on time twice, and one of the waits was for almost four minutes. That's not been a particularly unusual experience for me on GAI routes.

    In this case the timings are too generous, but I do have to wonder if the company is doing it deliberately to avoid the risk of penalties.

    Either way I cannot imagine too many people being tempted out of their cars if the buses are regularly going to continue to crawl along the route and potentially wait at various locations en route until they are on time again.

    I think people would prefer consistency over speed. Knowing a journey will take 40 minutes is better than knowing it’ll take somewhere between 25 and 50 minutes. That could include walk and wait times too and it’s not reasonable that you’d see that variation today.




  • tobsey wrote: »
    I think people would prefer consistency over speed. Knowing a journey will take 40 minutes is better than knowing it’ll take somewhere between 25 and 50 minutes. That could include walk and wait times too and it’s not reasonable that you’d see that variation today.

    I would certainly prefer the bus to be fast (i.e. faster than a car at rush hour and reasonably quick off peak) and consistent. Which means that BC needs to be implemented as much as possible in full.




  • The smart card reader at the door should be removed, anyone wants to travel should have to tap where they put the cash in now.

    The amount that still just walk right past the driver is not on.

    No checkers at all in over a year.




  • tobsey wrote: »
    I think people would prefer consistency over speed. Knowing a journey will take 40 minutes is better than knowing it’ll take somewhere between 25 and 50 minutes. That could include walk and wait times too and it’s not reasonable that you’d see that variation today.

    My specific example was first thing on a Sunday morning. There's never any variation at that time and yet both buses literally crawled for the entire journey and had extended waits at certain stops.

    I agree that consistency is important but not at the price of where buses end up regularly waiting which is happening on GAI routes particularly at weekends.

    Indeed in their first summer GAI never changed the running times at all, which led to farcically slow driving as the timetables were designed for autumn/winter traffic.

    The running times clearly need to be achievable, and not impossible, but also should not be overly generous. I fear that the companies will take the latter approach to avoid penalties.

    Getting the running times right is a massive challenge, and certainly is one reason for doing the implementation in phases as schedules may need to be tweaked after they initially start.

    You are not going to entice people out of their cars and onto buses if they are going to be regularly waiting at stops along the routes (such as the four minute wait that I had yesterday, and similarly on other trips).




  • We also need the NTA to start thinking about the network as one network, rather than GAI and Dublin Bus.

    The two companies had different operating patterns over the Christmas period and GAI returned to a full Monday-Friday service on 11 April, while Dublin Bus do so tomorrow.

    The result of this was that the 33 and 33A were operating out of sync on Monday-Friday during those periods (they are scheduled to offer an integrated service between Skerries and Swords normally).

    I've seen new bus stops with city bus routes separated by operator, thus the route numbers shown separately - why not brand them as one and list in numerical order.

    It's details like this that aren't thought through, that can have negative consequences, or just look daft.




  • To add to my previous post:

    Simple English goes a long way. GoAhead regularly refer to their Dublin City services as "ODMA". No one outside of the NTA, the operators and those of us with a specific interest in the area would have a clue what that means (it's "Outer Dublin Metropolitan Area" FYI).

    Why not use a simple term like "Dublin City Bus Services" or a similar term for all of the city bus services rather than a vague acronym that Joe Public will not understand?




  • LXFlyer wrote: »
    How the companies were funded was the real reason for that, and funding from DoT, and the wish by the NTA not to cause a shock to their finances or indeed to customers by making a rapid change to fares.

    To be fair, I would argue that the staged fare system was not broken as such, as it is an equitable one, but it doesn't lend itself at all to shorter dwell times when there are more than two fares in operation. It could continue to be a basis for a short and a long fare as you suggest with different fares on the left and right validators.

    Yes, I should have said the approach to ticketing and the operating model of Dublin Bus, rather then specifically the "stage fare system".

    Though I will say that no one but bus drivers actually understand the stage fare system and I've found some bus drivers to not even really know it. So from the ease of use perspective it is broken.

    The mistake really stems from the decision by Dublin Bus in the 80's when they got rid of conductors and decided to get rid of dual door buses and instead go for single door buses, with drivers selling tickets and making sure people pay.

    This entire operating model has proven to be a disaster and even a major step back from when we had conductors.

    Instead at the time they should have gone with the mainland European model. Off bus ticketing, enter via any door, validate ticket onboard, inspectors.

    Basically like how the Luas works. You didn't even need technology for this, just a print date/time on a paper ticket like happened in the past.

    You could have even kept the same fare system, it would have had no impact on revenue (other then needing to pay for inspectors).

    The mistake, which happens with a lot of government IT projects around the world, is layering technology on top of an already broken manual process and think that will fix it. It rarely does, you normally also need to fix the underlying issues first or at least at the same time.

    This really isn't rocket science, this is very much a solved problem.

    Btw the fairest system I've ever used is in Amsterdam, you pay per km travelled. Tag on at the start of the journey, tag off at the end and the ticket machine works out the distance travelled via GPS and thus how much you pay.

    You can also transfer between bus/tram/metro and it works out the distance, with a slightly higher per km fare for Metro versus bus.

    Nice, easy system that is very fair and works well.

    Sigh, it has taken us so long to fix the mistakes made in the 80's.


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  • bk wrote: »
    Yes, I should have said the approach to ticketing and the operating model of Dublin Bus, rather then specifically the "stage fare system".

    Though I will say that no one but bus drivers actually understand the stage fare system and I've found some bus drivers to not even really know it. So from the ease of use perspective it is broken.

    The mistake really stems from the decision by Dublin Bus in the 80's when they got rid of conductors and decided to get rid of dual door buses and instead go for single door buses, with drivers selling tickets and making sure people pay.

    This entire operating model has proven to be a disaster and even a major step back from when we had conductors.

    Instead at the time they should have gone with the mainland European model. Off bus ticketing, enter via any door, validate ticket onboard, inspectors.

    Basically like how the Luas works. You didn't even need technology for this, just a print date/time on a paper ticket like happened in the past.

    You could have even kept the same fare system, it would have had no impact on revenue (other then needing to pay for inspectors).

    The mistake, which happens with a lot of government IT projects around the world, is layering technology on top of an already broken manual process and think that will fix it. It rarely does, you normally also need to fix the underlying issues first or at least at the same time.

    This really isn't rocket science, this is very much a solved problem.

    Btw the fairest system I've ever used is in Amsterdam, you pay per km travelled. Tag on at the start of the journey, tag off at the end and the ticket machine works out the distance travelled via GPS and thus how much you pay.

    You can also transfer between bus/tram/metro and it works out the distance, with a slightly higher per km fare for Metro versus bus.

    Nice, easy system that is very fair and works well.

    Sigh, it has taken us so long to fix the mistakes made in the 80's.

    Your dates are a little bit off :-)

    While the rollout of driver only double deck buses started in the late 1980s, single door buses only appeared in 2000 with the AV fleet.

    As to the staged fares, it really didn't help that some genius removed the physical stage markings from bus stops some time back, and that simple line diagrams showing the fares from stops were all discontinued.

    Again it boils down to how the system is explained. It really isn't that complicated, but it has been made to be.

    The lack of proper maps since 2010 is utterly bizarre, and personally speaking when I heard the NTA as part of their rationale for BusConnects saying the network was difficult to understand, I couldn't help wondering that the lack of maps at stops and a network map didn't exactly help in that regard, despite having been in place before.

    Again - it is another example of getting the detail wrong having a negative impact.




  • LXFlyer wrote: »
    The lack of proper maps since 2010 is utterly bizarre, and personally speaking when I heard the NTA as part of their rationale for BusConnects saying the network was difficult to understand, I couldn't help wondering that the lack of maps at stops and a network map didn't exactly help in that regard, despite having been in place before.


    Dublin is brutal for bus network maps.

    Every bus stop should have a map.

    I accept that the volume of routes means a map may be cluttered.

    But I'm sure there are ways around that.


    The London spider maps are useful.




  • The TFL website has a menu item: Maps.

    The TFI does not.

    OK, fair enough, under Getting Around, there are Network maps.

    And they are better than they used to be, okay.

    But still no Dublin bus map.

    I have been going on and on about this for 20 years.




  • BK.

    I'm not gonna quote your long post, but just a few points....

    With an honour based system of paying, you need to have a fairly middle class clientele. That was not Dublin (or Ireland) in the 80 or even for a fair bit of the 90s. People would've gamed the system as they had very little disposable income.

    The system works well in some mainland European countries because it's drilled in to kids in schools that it's what you do, and because people carry ID cards and getting away with it seems very risky. (Is civics classes still a thing in schools?).

    I'm all for bringing best practices from abroad in to Ireland at all levels of society, but we need to be realistic about what will and won't/wouldn't have work(ed).




  • Zebra3 wrote: »
    With an honour based system of paying, you need to have a fairly middle class clientele. That was not Dublin (or Ireland) in the 80 or even for a fair bit of the 90s. People would've gamed the system as they had very little disposable income.

    The system works well in some mainland European countries because it's drilled in to kids in schools that it's what you do, and because people carry ID cards and getting away with it seems very risky. (Is civics classes still a thing in schools?).

    LOL and Eastern Europe and the other countries behind the iron curtain was and are so rich? :rolleyes:

    Having spent a lot of time in Eastern Europe, I can tell you that fare evasion is rampant there. But they also have a lot of ticket checkers and if you get caught, a big fine, the fines seem to be enough to pay for the ticket checkers and enough to keep most people "honest" even though they have feck all money and seem to cover the fares from the people they don't catch.

    Middle class clientele, what a load of nonsense!

    And it isn't like Dublin Buses obsession with a poor fare system worked, the system was ripe with fare evasion. How many people had fake free travel passes getting on the bus.

    How many people just get the cheapest fare or a childs fare (as an adult) and travel as far as they want today.

    In the end, those who aren't going to pay, aren't going to pay, while that pisses me off greatly, the mistake DB made was being stupidly obsessed with it and creating a really poor service for all their customers, rather then focusing on and prioritising the needs of their actual honest fare paying customers.




  • Wow. "LOL". Fair play for being being so disgustingly patronising. :rolleyes: A real charmer.

    And therein ends my discussions with you.




  • Geuze wrote: »
    The TFL website has a menu item: Maps.

    The TFI does not.

    OK, fair enough, under Getting Around, there are Network maps.

    And they are better than they used to be, okay.

    But still no Dublin bus map.

    I have been going on and on about this for 20 years.

    Well you clearly did not look very hard.

    There was a network map until 11 years ago along with maps at stops.




  • To be honest, lots do be going on about moving on and technology etc etc etc....

    To be honest near everyone has a smart phone these days, maps a plenty on those....

    The money going out is at what 55 million already and for what....

    All I see is a few bus stops with now 3 different types of branding, it's actually near like a willy measuring contest.....

    There was big expensive fancy stops on Eden Quay for example, they came out dug up and put in new poles recently, then at bus shelter they have no numbers up on it but on the glass itself, the amount of people asking me does such and such still stop there, because the pole is gone....


    We are looking at around €5k a bus to repaint, there is no way London or others paint every 2 years, this is a absolute waste and imo stupid.

    People really should be more interested in a top notch service, punctual, adequate place and safe for to alight and board without having to step off between cars or onto a road, now with e scooter and e bikes, the speed of them and the near misses I see daily, I've had numerous people hit after they got off or even waiting to get on.

    The SG bus is absolutely the most uncomfortable bus I've ever been a passenger on and driver of, you feel every single bump or crack.


    I've emailed numerous times for road sections where the road surfaces have collapsed or gone and some get a bit of a fill, more need to do this imo.




  • Is there temporarily going to be a different fare scheme for the H Spine? Or by short medium and long distance it is Stages 1- 3 €1.55,
    Stages 4 – 13 €2.25 & over 13 Stages €2.50?


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  • To be honest, lots do be going on about moving on and technology etc etc etc....

    To be honest near everyone has a smart phone these days, maps a plenty on those....

    The money going out is at what 55 million already and for what....

    All I see is a few bus stops with now 3 different types of branding, it's actually near like a willy measuring contest.....

    There was big expensive fancy stops on Eden Quay for example, they came out dug up and put in new poles recently, then at bus shelter they have no numbers up on it but on the glass itself, the amount of people asking me does such and such still stop there, because the pole is gone....

    We are looking at around €5k a bus to repaint, there is no way London or others paint every 2 years, this is a absolute waste and imo stupid.

    People really should be more interested in a top notch service, punctual, adequate place and safe for to alight and board without having to step off between cars or onto a road, now with e scooter and e bikes, the speed of them and the near misses I see daily, I've had numerous people hit after they got off or even waiting to get on.

    The SG bus is absolutely the most uncomfortable bus I've ever been a passenger on and driver of, you feel every single bump or crack.

    I've emailed numerous times for road sections where the road surfaces have collapsed or gone and some get a bit of a fill, more need to do this imo.

    There is no official network map available online or elsewhere, except the map on the BusConnects site which Jarrett Walker's team had to prepare themselves. That is shocking to be honest. Having network maps available and having information at the stops such as local maps and buses from the stops is basic stuff, yet it's been like that since 2010.

    Regarding BusConnects, to be fair the NTA have outlined exactly where the money has been spent. Redesigning the network is not a simple or cheap task, nor is the design and preparation of the significant engineering work required for the corridors.

    Dublin Bus repaint vehicles every four years, not every two as you suggest, which I think is reasonable, and the repainting that is taking place right now is in line with that. It's the 2013 and 2017 vehicles.


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