Today, Sunday 13th March 2005, Dublin Bus placed notices in the newspapers announcing that as of today, the 31A and 31B services will be amalgamated and reduced from 24 departures a day to 8 departures on weekdays, 6 on Saturdays and a laughable 3 on Sundays. Additionally, the 31B will terminate at Howth Summit and no longer serve Howth Dart station. While there will be an increase in the number of 31 buses on weekdays, it will not compensate for the reduction of the other services. No part of the peninsula will have an increased service to the city and the south of the peninsula will lose 65% of its buses.
Worse still, the total number of departures to/from Howth will be cut back massively on Saturdays and Sundays, with a reduction from a current 52 departures to Howth village on Saturday to 37 and a cut on Sundays from 36 departures to 27.
As if making these cuts was not bad enough, this decision has been announced in today’s Sunday newspapers and put into effect on the same day. As late as yesterday there was no information on the 31 bus in relation to the proposed changes. Tomorrow morning there will be people waiting at bus stops in Howth and Sutton wondering where their bus is. This is a disgraceful way for Dublin Bus to treat their customers.
It is particularly appalling that there is to be a 30% cut in services at the weekend. Weekend buses are already overcrowded due to the shutting down of the Dart. On recent weekends buses for Howth have often been full even before they leave Eden Quay, and were refusing to pick up passengers at subsequent stops.
It appears that part of the reasoning behind Dublin Bus’s changes is their desire to compete with the Dart for passengers. Recently a delegation from Dublin Bus told a Fingal County Council meeting that “We’re a bus company and it is our intention to bring people to the city by bus not by train.” The decision to stop running the 31B service to/from Howth Dart Station is a reflection of this. It means that the public will have to suffer a deliberately unintegrated public transport system. Local demands for feeder bus services are being consciously resisted by Dublin Bus.
The Department of Transport has apparently approved this change with no public consultation. We call on the Department of Transport to reverse these changes and cuts in service.