What needs to happen with this review is examining how to reduce our car dependence. For example, lets look at the M50. It is exceeding boom levels and is regularly an impromptu car park. While this is largely due to accidents, it is also the result of people opting for the car because the public transport alternative is either far more time consuming or non-existent.
In my case, I am doing a round trip from Dalkey to Citywest Monday to Friday because it is 30 minutes by car each way versus 2 hours per direction by DART and Luas. Now, if there was a public transport alternative which took an hour door-to-door, I might consider it. Sadly, the lack there of as a result of an equal lack of will power prolongs my dependence on the car.
Unfortunately, many of the bus journeys exceed an hour in length because of bus stops in quick succession and meandering through housing estates. As a result, would-be commuters along these routes end up driving to their destination given that it can be done in a fraction of the time. A lot of people might defend the meandering through housing estates because that is where people live. With this logic, why not have train lines operating through housing estates with stations every 100 meters?
The answer to this is, you don't as doing so would be ludicrous. Most housing estates are built next to distributor (or arterial) roads where buses currently operate (or at least should). In my opinion, buses need to behave more like a rapid transit system by using distributor (or arterial) roads and less like a chauffeur service with the current meandering that goes on.
After all, a lot of housing estates are currently being considered either for 30 KM/H speed limits, traffic calming or both which will likely lengthen the bus journeys even further. So, my take on this is that if you want to have traffic calming along roads then don't expect buses or their passengers to be inconvenienced by them.
I've said it numerous times before and I will say it again, speed is one of the crucial factors in public transport planning. So, we should be looking at reducing the length of time it takes to get from A to B to make the bus an attractive alternative to the car. Ergo, current motorists will be able to get to work in a timely manner leading to better punctuality.
For the sake of current regular Dublin Bus users, I hope that this is not another Network Direct Project. All this did was merging routes which in a twist of irony, made them less direct given the higher instances of meandering leading to the nickname Network "They Wrecked". If it is, I expect congestion on the M50 and the city to get exponentially worse.
Given the increasing number of cyclists, it would be a good time for Dublin Bus to retro-fit its current fleet with toe-bars and bike trailers for people who might be cycling part of their way to work. That way, if the nearest bus stop is a good distance away and where the overall journey is difficult to cycle, commuters could cycle to their nearest bus stop and mount their bike on the carrying trailer. This would be a good way of encouraging multi-modal or hybrid journeys!