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Infrastructure that never happened

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,395 ✭✭✭Markcheese


    Ironically, BRT isnt really about the bus type, you could put any bus you like on it. Once theyre pretty much the same floor height , for access.

    Its more about the system - so similar to a luas , good stops - no on board ticketing , short dwell times and and a route designed and engineered to allow the bus travel smoothly and quickly ..

    Theres no sharp turns on a luas line- theres no speed bumps, and theyve a dedicated route..

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Absolutely. Strictly speaking you can even use double deckers on BRT routes. For instance the NTA did a report into BRT ten years ago and considered three door, two stairs tri axles like they have in Berlin for BRT here. However in that report and with Swiftway they decided on 18m single deck bendi buses like the ones in Belfast (and coming to Dublin Airport).

    They also really liked the 24m biarticulated buses, but they aren’t road legal at the moment and would require a change to legislation.

    But as you say, BRT is much more about the supporting infrastructure than the specific vehicle, dedicated lanes, priority, off bus ticketing, etc. One requirement for the vehicles however is usually no driver interaction, multiple doors and entry/exit through any door.

    Basically like Luas but with a bus.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭gjim


    A key part of BRT type services is that the dwell time must be fixed/predictable which is very difficult to achieve with double decker buses even with 3 doors - more half the passengers are funnelled through a single one-way stairway.

    The fixation with double deckers in ireland is odd - nearly the entire rest of the world phased them out decades ago and I'd be surprised if they comprised more than 1 or 2% of the fleet world-wide. Single decker artics can support BRT/tram like patterns of use and can share infrastructure with trams. Double deckers cannot. Never mind the accessibility argument.

    Yeah, yeah they have them in Berlin, but even there are 10 single decker buses in Berlin for every double decker and their most prominent use - on line 100 - is primarily a tourist route.

    Going non-standard/bespoke for PT infrastructure and stock is never a good idea - particularly for a relatively small country. Having a unique rail-gauge should be enough.

    BusConnects was a missed opportunity to strategically plan for moving away from this anachronistic bus format. Keep a few around for tourists.



  • Registered Users Posts: 204 ✭✭Ronald Binge Redux


    Has anyone read Geldof's Is That It? In it there is a pitch perfect recreation of a 1970s smoky and condensation ridden bus run from Blackrock into town, complete with an annoying bus conductor and an utter sense of despair. Let's sell that to tourists looking for the rale aul times!



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    In fairness, I’ve the exact same memories of the single decker buses in Cork in the 80’s

    The reintroduction of the double deckers in Cork has been greatly improved things and people don’t get left behind at the stops anymore which was far too frequent with the single deckers.

    Of course you could also solve that problem but improving the frequency the single deckers, which frankly is badly needed on many routes in Cork. Too many routes in Cork have a supposed frequency of every 20 minutes and then only turn up once an hour.

    BTW there is actually a BRT route in China that has a bus every 10 seconds!

    Unfortunately with the ongoing driver shortages, I do t think higher frequency (non bendy) single deckers will be an option (outside of the O Route). I agree gjim that bendy single deckers are the best option for BRT routes if we get them.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 204 ✭✭Ronald Binge Redux


    Good points bk and I fully agree. We need a mix - horses for courses!



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,280 ✭✭✭FishOnABike


    The dart to Dingle....




  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,131 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    In Nice, France, they have loads of small single decker buses that take about 70 passengers, nearly all standing with just the odd seat dotted around. On bus validation of tickets, with the equivalent of our 90 min ticket, so no need for every passenger to validate. They are fast and frequent.

    I would not like to take one for a long journey though - where long is measured in 100s of metres rather than 10s of Kms - maybe a 15 min journey would be the most I would contemplate.



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Nice yet, definitely on the list.

    Looking at pictures of their busses, you find those type of busses all over mainland Europe. I’ve been on loads like that in Eastern Europe. Single deckers with three doors, enter/exit through any door, no driver interaction, off bus ticketing or validate ticket on machines on the bus.

    They usually have fantastic dwell times that would put Dublin to shame and are fast and nippy.

    You are correct, you wouldn’t want to stand on them too long, but up to 30 minutes tends to be ok. The thing about them though is that in most cities with these folks usually take trains or Metro into the city and normally these busses cover just the last few km connecting these stations. They tend not to have the exhaustingly long routes like Dublin has.

    I see Nice has three tram lines similar to Luas in a city the size of Belfast. It seems the trams make up the core of the transport system (including serving the airport) and then the busses operate off that.

    If some day we had let’s say 3 Metro lines, Dart+, DART Underground, a couple more Luas lines, then I think we could also possibly switch to a similar model, we just aren’t there yet.

    Amsterdam is an interesting comparison, almost perfect match for Dublin in terms of population size and density. Dublin City Bus fleet has 1,200 busses, while Amsterdam has just 230 busses and they are single deckers!

    Of course Amsterdam also has 5 metro lines and 15 tram lines. Thus they don’t need anywhere near the same numbers of busses or per vehicle capacity. Their busses just fill in the gaps between the metro and tram lines. They aren’t the back bone of public transport like they are in Dublin.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,131 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    When I was last in Nice, there was just one tram line, but other lines in planning and construction.

    What was interesting was the Massena Place crossing. There were no over head cables, and the tram dropped the pentagraph and travelled on battery across the square. That would have been the right choice for O'Connell Street for both the Red and Green lines.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 739 ✭✭✭Jayuu


    "You are correct, you wouldn’t want to stand on them too long, but up to 30 minutes tends to be ok. The thing about them though is that in most cities with these folks usually take trains or Metro into the city and normally these busses cover just the last few km connecting these stations. They tend not to have the exhaustingly long routes like Dublin has."

    I'll be honest and say that if I had to stand for 30 minutes every time I used a bus to go into town I would only use them when I didn't have a choice. People can criticise me all they want for that attitude but I suspect that I would be far from the only person who would think this. Also I suspect that out of rush hour the main users of the bus network would tend to be older people that may have physical difficulty in standing for that period.

    Like it or not buses are the backbone of our public transport network at the moment and likely to be for quite a while into the future. If we are going to expect people to abandon private transport in favour of public transport we need to be offering them a reasonable experience. Cost may become a factor as well as journey times for private transport but it would be better if we could make use of public transport a virture rather than a necessity.



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Ideally yes, yet people stand on bus, Luas or Dart for more than 30 minutes every day.

    And it isn’t unique to Dublin, people squeeze onto and stand on trains and Metros all over the world every day. Ever try commuting in rush hour in Tokyo or London. Lots of folks standing shoulder to shoulder for 30 minutes or more.

    Sure, it is your decision if you prefer to drive. But don’t be surprised if it becomes more and more expensive and difficult to drive into a city. Increasing traffic congestion, city center car bans, congestion charging, ever more expensive parking, etc.

    Of course non of the above is ideal, but frankly that is the reality of big cities the world over and as Dublin quickly grows it will be increasingly the reality for Dublin too.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,131 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    Oh - there is an alternative. Work from home using the internet, or cycle, walk or use an e-bike or e-scooter. Not open to everyone, but driving a car into a city will not be open to everyone either as congestion increases as will charges associated with driving into cities.

    In the late 1890s, the biggest problem facing large cities was horse ****, and moving it out of the city. Canals were built to move it out of London.

    Tram lines and metros will be needed to solve the congestion in Dublin - if only they would get on and build them now.



  • Registered Users Posts: 739 ✭✭✭Jayuu


    Yes some people do stand as a matter of choice but most look for a seat and stand only when one isn't available and aren't particularly happy about that. There's a reason that we have majority seat buses. Part of it is historic but I can tell you now that if somebody in Dublin Bus suggested tomorrow that Route G1 (for example) would transition to a majority standing bus there would be an outcry from commuters and local politicians all along that route.

    Yes you could still push it through and people woud have no choice but to use it as the majority of them don't have any alternative but far from making public transport a more palatable choice for people it will simply harden attitudes against it. Ultimately that is counter productive to what both of us want. I'm a supporter of public transport but I'm also realistic about how the public view it.

    We're probably a bit off topic now though.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,082 ✭✭✭p_haugh


    The O route would be a perfect fit for a high capacity single decker with mainly standing space.

    The main users of the route would be:

    1. Those making last mile journeys after coming off a spine/radial route.
    2. Those making a connection with another spine/radial to take them to another part of the city.

    I'd doubt there'd be many long journeys made on that route.



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Yes some people do stand as a matter of choice but most look for a seat and stand only when one isn't available and aren't particularly happy about that

    Of course at an individual level, most people would rather sit if a seat is available. But we are talking more at a capacity / public transport planning level.

    The obvious counter argument is the Luas, Luas trams have far more standing space then seated space, according to Luas:

    The Citadis 401 Tram on the Red Line has 72 seats and can hold up to 219 standing passengers. The Citadis 402 Tram on the Green Line has 68 seats and can hold up to 251 standing passengers.

    At peak times most people on a Luas are standing and journey times on the Luas can be up to an hour!

    And yet Luas is ranked as the most popular form of public transport by people in Ireland!

    It would seem that people don’t mind standing as long as the service is fast, frequent and reliable.

    People prefer to sit on our buses, because of how slow they are, stuck in traffic, terrible dwell times and crawling through winding estates. I’d suspect people would be much more willing to stand, if it was on a BRT flying down a dedicated lane on the likes of the Swords Road, etc.

    It is really just perception and what we are use to.

    Don’t get me wrong I don’t think our double deckers with their lots of seats are going anywhere for the forseeable future. But in the long term things might gradually change as more Luas lines are rolled out, 0 ring type routes, BRT and metro lines.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,131 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    The transition to single decker majority standing buses would be acceptable if they were quick, frequent and reliable. The O route would be a perfect start, as they will be single decker to get under the bridges, and should be frequent and reliable because their route is relatively short, with most passengers likely to be only travelling a few Kms.

    Now, single decker buses could be used to augment some routes providing shorter elements of routes, but increasing frequency during busy times.

    Dublin bus will evolve - it has tried single decker buses, and unfortunately - even the dreaded bendy bus No 10 route that could not manage the turn from Lincoln Place into Westland Row - the bus was not bendy enough.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,082 ✭✭✭p_haugh


    Back before covid, you could sometimes see one of the two Donnybrook single deckers work an extra 145 in from Woodbrook in the morning peak. Don't think theyve been seen on it recently however.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭gjim


    Articulated buses can have as many seats as a double decker - 40 to 60 - although typically, in my experience of using them, they generally have been configured at the bottom of that range. And all the seats are equally accessible to all passengers - while with double deckers using the upstairs seats is impractical if you have a disability, are elderly, have a kid's buggy, e.g., or a lot of shopping/luggage, etc.

    They form the basis of a long term on-street public transport strategy as they can share infrastructure, stops, ticketing systems and road space with trams. So typically what I've seen in a number of European cities is an evolution: as bus routes become busier, they are first provided with more segregated road space. If demand increases, these alignments can be upgraded to trolley buses, which can eventually be upgraded to tramway but all formats can share street space and infrastructure. BusConnects could have provided the first steps for such an evolution by at least providing reserved alignments which could later become hybrid bus/tram.

    The issue with them, from a Dublin perspective, is that they cannot share routes/alignments with double decker buses - or you end up with the worst operational characteristics of both - so it's a bit of an all-or-nothing thing. It's a pity BusConnects didn't pick one route and have it dedicated to this vehicle format - maybe the E spine - which could use Luas infrastructure between Stephens green and Parnell Sq.



  • Registered Users Posts: 13,211 ✭✭✭✭ArmaniJeanss


    There recently. I found their interchange link between the two main tram lines at Massena/Jean De Medecin to be interesting. Similar setup to our Red/Green interchange at OCS/Abbey which caused all sorts of angst with people saying it's not a proper interchange. Also been debate here about our future Red to Metro interchange and the distance involved.

    In Nice the West/East line is underground in the city centre and to transfer to North/South line (street tram) you've to come up 2/3 escalators, walk across a plaza and then go across across a busy traffic junction.



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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,131 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    Garret Fitzgerald was in favour of the Red line going underground. Pity he was not listened to because it would have been a much better solution.

    The complaint about the Red/Green 'interchange' is the missed opportunity to the allow the trams to be routed across the divide - Heuston to SSG and Sandyford, Sandyford to The Point, etc. A tram system should be a part of a network allows multiple routing.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,755 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl


    The complaint about the Red/Green 'interchange' is the missed opportunity to the allow the trams to be routed across the divide - Heuston to SSG and Sandyford, Sandyford to The Point, etc. A tram system should be a part of a network allows multiple routing.

    Why? Seems like needless complication and it's not standard practice anywhere I've been on trams anyway.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,473 ✭✭✭GerardKeating


    Interlining is very common on rail/train/tram networks, allows a much more flexibile network.

    They could have designed the network to allow a Sandyford to Hueston/Connolly service if they wanted.

    The origional plan for the Citywest extension had a junction design to allow a Citywest to Tallaght service, but that got dropped.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,758 ✭✭✭prunudo


    Not a recent proposal, but the original route for the trainline between Bray and Greystones was to go inland and to the west of Bray head but I believe it was local land owners who put an end to it and Brunnel was lumbered with far more difficult routing along the coast.

    It was due to go through the valley where Kilruddery, Belmont and Templecarrig are located. Can'thelp but wonder how the south eastern line would look today if didn't have centuries of issues due to erosion.



  • Registered Users Posts: 669 ✭✭✭Nibs05


    I seen Bremore port in north county Dublin mentioned here a few times, it’s still on the go.


    https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/new-plans-for-deep-water-port-at-bremore-co-dublin-to-be-unveiled/a939649046.html



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Such interlining usually comes with increased complexity and thus usually reduced frequency, speeds and capacity.

    That is why you rarely see it done in any of the busy high frequency, high capacity Metro or underground systems. Usually such systems make people interchange between lines.

    Given how busy and relatively high capacity the Luas is, it would be a bad idea here.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,755 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl


    I do not believe it is very common. This is entirely anecdotal, but I have literally never come across it on any transport network I have used (well, this is not true as I have used the NYC subway but didn't notice this. It's also not a good subway system). It goes against the very principle of having "lines" and instead seems just deeply confusing to passengers.

    The far better set-up is for fixed lines and interchange of passengers, which is the norm almost everywhere.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,131 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    Well, I would think 'lines' means a bit more than the Red and Green lines that barely touch, and miss quite a lot of highly used connections.

    If we had many shorter lines, then you might have a point but trams lines which have end to end times measured in hours hardly cut it as a viable system.

    Of course we have the buses.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,890 Mod ✭✭✭✭spacetweek


    If we had interlined Red and Green trams, only 1 in 3 trams would be useful to you when you arrived at your stop as all routes would have 3 termini. If your stop was before the split you'd be fine though.

    Not a fan of interlining, myself.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭gjim



    It's common on tram networks in my experience (Dublin doesn't really have a "network" - just two lines that intersect), much less so on metro systems. Recently I used trams (and buses) in Amsterdam and Zurich which both have dense tram networks and most stops seemed to offer you the choice of more than one route.



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