Cllr Adrian Henchy - Putting Community First - Adrian.Henchy@cllrs.fingal.ie  - 087 681 4485

Transport Matters

I hold regular meetings with transport authorities to impress on them the need for improved transport links for the areas that I represent. The Northern Train Line is a key link between North County Dublin and Dublin City. It is essential for bringing people to work, students to college and people to hospitals around the county.  Equally, the bus network is critical for connecting us to the surrounding communities.  This page outlines the meetings that I have held with transport stakeholders and their outcomes. It also includes the comprehensive submission that I made on the Bus Connects proposal.

Transport Updates

Representation to the NTA

 

I regularly meet representatives from the NTA, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail. The following is a letter that I wrote the NTA:

I want to firstly acknowledge the recent briefing on the Metrolink revised proposal and again I had very good engagement with the project Manager Aidan Foley who I have found in all my dealings on Metrolink to be excellent. I really hope this project will get off the ground this time and will be delivered both on budget and on time. The region of Fingal deserves nothing less.

However, the main purpose of my email Anne, is to follow up on the current and future transport arrangements for Donabate/Portrane with both bus and rail. The issues I will highlight below are along the very same lines as I raised with both you and Hugh when you were both in attendance at the meeting in Leinster House organised by Robert Troy TD.

Within my email, I go into special detail around the issues in Donabate and Portrane. I would also like  to acknowledge the assistance and help I have always received from Mr Tim Gaston on transport issues but especially covering the Donabate Portrane area. 

As you are no doubt aware the Peninsula of Donabate Portrane is undergoing a period of significant growth in the population as well as the wider area of Fingal which is the youngest and fastest growing region in the country. However this growth is not been matched with the provision of Public Transport and I will go into both bus and rail below.

 

Bus

The Peninsula has only one direct bus service a day from Portrane to the City Centre the 33D via the Port Tunnel . This departs Portrane at 7.20am and returns from the City Centre at 17.45pm. This service is operated by Dublin Bus. In recent months, this service is increasingly full, even before it leaves Donabate and I have observed a trend of passengers going towards Portrane in order to make sure they get the bus. With the Train services significantly congested this is a popular alternative choice for passengers and is a fast reliable service via the Port Tunnel. However, we need more than one service a day and especially at  peak times. I would also suggest, instead of this service terminating in the City Centre it should terminate and begin from Belfield UCD given the large number of students who attend UCD from Donabate Portrane. Given in all likelihood the long talked about Dart extension will not come to Donabate for many years, I would suggest as an alternative to the train a pilot scheme of high quality direct Bus Services from the Peninsula to UCD via the Port Tunnel should be trialled. This would be a similar scheme to both the Swords Express and Fingal Express and while I am no way promoting Swords Express and fully recognize open competition etc must be gone through before any public or private operator is awarded the service, Swords Express have indicated they would be very interested in providing a direct service from the peninsula  to the City via the Port Tunnel.

I also want to raise a number of concerns with regard to the new operator of the 33B service from Portrane to Swords “Go-Ahead” . As a Public Representative for this area, I have been inundated with complaints of the bus not turning up at all or turning up late. The 8.15am service from Portrane to Swords all too frequently not turning up at all. Only today, I received emails from constituents complaining that no buses turned up for long periods of the day and when they contacted Go Ahead head office they were informed that there was no staff to run the service. If this is true what Go Ahead stated this is totally unacceptable in the provision of Public transport.

 

Rail 

 

As I told you at the recent briefing in Leinster House ,the Donabate Rail Service is no where near the level or standards that is required for Rail passengers in Donabate. Many of the new developments that have been built in Donabate over recent years are all within close walking distance to the station which is good planning. However, the service has not kept pace with the level of population growth for the area. I am sure you have the figures yourselves but as someone who is very familiar with the area I have observed hundreds of passengers using the train from Donabate in the mornings and again in the evening pouring out of Donabate station. This is a positive development in many ways as developments are built  closer to the station but Donabate rail commuters deserve far better. Many of the trains arrive into Donabate at peak times in the morning already at capacity. The congestion on the train can be intolerable especially for Women, Children and our Older Citizens. It is now regular for trains not to arrive into city stations at the expected time of arrival. Delayed regularly as priority is given to Dart Services leaving commuters on the Drogheda service waiting for lengthy periods in over congested, over heated carriages. I am aware from commuters that many previous rail users have stopped using the train due to the extreme overcrowding and lengthy journeys into the city and are now back driving cars into work.

So what I would like to establish

  • When do the NTA expect the Dart Extension to finally come to Donabate

  • Are there any short terms plans to provide for hybrid engines to accommodate both electric and diesel trains

  • Are there any plans to provide additional carriages at peak times to help alleviate the chronic congestion

  • Are there any plans to further improve services outside of peak times and at weekends

I would also like to take this opportunity Anne, to highlight the increasing incidences of Anti-Social behaviour both in the train stations, platforms and on the train.

In recent years, Donabate on a frequent basis are seeing a very small minority of youths mostly males using the train to freely travel between stations, some of these youths engage in serious anti-social behaviour and use the train as a quick entrance and  get away from the village. In previous years, the permanent presence of staff prevented a lot of this but now with unmanned stations, a tiny percentage of youths are using the lack of a human presence to engage in serious anti-social behaviour. 

To conclude Anne, I appreciate my email is lengthy and I have raised a significant amount of issues with regard to both bus and rail services for  Donabate and Portrane but all of these issues are of real importance to our bus and rail passengers.

With both the imminent opening of the new National Forensic Hospital at St Ita’s Hospital Campus  Portrane which will bring significant employment back into Portrane with of course a need for Public Transport and the continued building of housing within walking distance of Donabate Train Station, commuters on the Peninsula want  to know what the NTA is planning in both the short term and medium term to properly address the number of transport issues which I have outlined within the content of this email. I do hope serious consideration can be given to some of the suggestions and improvements that I have outlined.

 

To conclude, I wish you and all your staff continued success in your very important work and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

 

 

Kindest Regards,

Adrian

Local Bus and Rail Updates

Since my election to the Council over four years ago, one of the issues I have really focused on is Public Transport on the Peninsula both Bus and Rail. I have had regular meetings with both Dublin Bus and Irish Rail and have made frequent representations to the National Transport Authority. My emphasis at all times has been to improve the 33B services Portrane to Swords return and the retention and indeed expansion of our only direct Bus service to the City the 33D.  Following a number of representations, I have suggested to the National Transport Authority (NTA), in light of no immediate improvement to our rail service, that in the short term an additional 33D service is provided both morning and evening and instead of this service terminating in Dublin City Centre, that it continues its journey onto Belfield University College Dublin. I am encouraged to say the NPA are giving this suggestion serious consideration as you will see from part of the response below I received from the NTA in recent days .

"The 33D is getting busier however it’s not at full capacity as yet according to the loadings provided to us by Dublin Bus.  The network planning team are considering your suggestion to add in a further bus and of continuing on to UCD although there is ample space on other buses running from the centre of the city to UCD with interchange on Lesson street and other locations."

As most of you know, the NTA have allowed other Bus providers enter the Public Transport Network and one of the routes that has been selected is the 33b which will be operated by Go Ahead Bus who take over these services on 2nd December and a full programme of the timetable can be found at this link https://www.transportforireland.ie/ .  I have also attached a copy of the timetable for ease of reference. I  want to take the opportunity to pay tribute and recognise the service Dublin Bus have provided to our Peninsula over many years. Many of us on the Peninsula grew up fully dependant on the Dublin Bus 33B whether it was for school , work or recreation. However, Dublin Bus ties with the Peninsula are not fully gone as they will continue to provide the one and only direct link to the City, the 33 D service for now. I want to welcome Go Ahead Bus to the Peninsula and from a quick anaylsis of the new timetable it looks like a number of improvements have been made to the existing 33B services. I will continue to monitor this closely and as always, if you have any issues please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Irish Rail

With regards to Irish Rail as indicated in September following my meeting with Barry Kenny of Irish Rail , Iarnród Éireann is planning to implement further timetable alterations from 9th December 2018, subject to the approval of the National Transport Authority.

 

More frequent off-peak and weekend services between Maynooth/Drogheda and Connolly, including extended morning and evening operating hours between Maynooth and Connolly on Sundays More even intervals on DART services on Saturdays In addition, to address feedback from customers arising from the changed schedules in September, the following further alterations are planned:

A number of morning Northern Commuter services will additionally serve Portmarnock, Clongriffin and Howth Junction; and one evening Northern Commuter service will additionally serve Clongriffin and Portmarnock, to balance capacity Additional early morning 06.52hrs Connolly to Malahide DART service to provide connection to northbound Northern Commuter service for DART customers at intermediate stations  the full draft timetables are available here. http://www.irishrail.ie/news/december2018timetable

 

Summary of proposed changes from 9th December 2018

 

Northern Commuter

 

Three additional services from Connolly to Drogheda on Mondays to Fridays at 07.50hrs, 09.10hrs and 15.22hrs Additional 06.52hrs DART Connolly to Malahide, to connect to northbound Northern Commuter service for customers from intermediate DART stations Three additional services from Drogheda to Connolly on Mondays to Fridays at 09:00, 10:10 and 16:28 Results in increase in service to at least 2 trains per hour in each direction for majority of the day 22.05hrs Connolly/Drogheda service on Saturdays advanced to 21.45hrs.

New service on Saturdays from Connolly to Dundalk at 22:45

11 additional services on Sundays, delivering hourly service all day in each direction.

 

Minor Saturday and Sunday time alterations

Safe Cycling Signs

Installation of safe cycling signs on Hearse Road and Turvey Avenue, at this month’s area committee meeting, I asked the Chief Executive for the installation of a safe cycling distance signs all along both the Hearse Road and Turvey Avenue similar to what was recently installed between Blake’s Cross, Lusk and Skerries. At the meeting I was informed that Fingal County Council will install safe cycling “1.5m Pass with Care” signage at suitable locations on Hearse Road and Turvey Avenue in the coming weeks.

Search Road Updates

I would like to thank all those that have contacted me over the last few days in relation to the ongoing works on the Hearse Road for the long awaited Distributor Road. While these works are necessary, it was disappointing to see that the contractor is not working within the hours advertised. I spoke with both Fingal County Council and the contractor for the new distributor road in relation to the traffic issues causing morning and evening delays in and out of Donabate. The Stop/Go system will be in operation for this week only and it is to carry out essential works for the build of the new Donabate to Portrane By Pass Road. 


The contractor informed me that the hours agreed with the Council for works on the Hearse Road was not before 9.30am and not after 4.30pm. The contractor acknowledged the signs on display for the works are currently set at the wrong times of 10am to 4pm and they will be changed to reflect the agreed times with Fingal County Council. The contractor also acknowledged that work continued  past the agreed times by 20 minutes at the beginning of the week and he had assured me this will not happen again. I have once again contacted the contractor today  to remind the contractor of the agreed hours with Fingal County Council and I also made representations to the Council in relation to the contractor's breach of agreement. Another issue that has been raised is the  number of trucks going to and from the site driving at speed in and out of the village which I  brought to the contractor’s attention and he informed me that a work shop will be given next week to all drivers in relation to this issue.

 

Tthe planned diversion on the Hearse Road which will be in place till the 17th of December approximately. This diversion is in place to allow the developer carry out essential infrastructural improvements along the Hearse road in advance of building houses. This is part of the planning permission grant and will result in significant road improvement and footpath installation along the Hearse Road near Donabate Village.

Can the 9.08am service from Donabate be reinstated instead of the new 9.02am as this proving difficult for working parents doing the school run and the next train is at 10.12 am

 

ANS: While we cannot move this within the existing timetable, an additional service will be introduced from December at 09.30hrs approx.

Can I ask for an assessment of Donabate Train Station Car park as currently there is a large number of potholes in the car park?

 

ANS: We are undertaking resurfacing works in the coming weeks at Donabate to address this.

Are Irish Rail supportive of the proposed Donabate to Malahide greenway and when constructed can we ask that it connects Donabate train station to Malahide Station in Phase one?

 

ANS: We are supportive of and will facilitate the construction of this Greenway where it is at or adjacent to our property, at the viaduct and causeway.  It will primarily be the local authority or other landowners who will be involved to facilitate a connection to Donabate Station.

Can consideration be given to Trains travelling to places such as Westport to have a later departure time on a Friday to accommodate employees travelling home as currently the latest train is 6pm.

ANS: The final service currently is 18.15hrs – a later 19.35hrs Heuston to Galway has relatively modest demand. As a result, there are no immediate plans to introduce a later Westport service, but we will continue to review this with the NTA.

Can you confirm the future plans for the Dart extension coming to Donabate. 

ANS: Under the National Development Plan 2018-2027, the DART will be extended to Drogheda, including Donabate. We are awaiting details of funding timescales from the NTA, and will be able to confirm at that time when the DART will be extended.  DART Expansion will also include fleet and infrastructure investment which will increase capacity on the route.

Can consideration be given to a second train after 10.12 am for Students travelling to college after 10am in the morning it is very difficult and takes three different transport routes to get to college as there is only one train from 10am to 11am.

 

ANS: We will also seek to address this with the increased off-peak frequencies in December.

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