Wednesday 30 September 2020

Wading Through The Black Lake (2)

 Maplessness Makes the Message Meaningless!

At least it does for an outsider looking in. Even Wikipedia bemoans the lack of a proper network map for Dublin. Maybe Dubliners find it easy, but fbb doubts it.

Uniquely for a capital city's primary transit network, no full system-wide street map is available online. Dublin Bus cites high licensing fees from the fellow state-owned company, Ordnance Survey Ireland, which published a printed street map every two to five years and included bus routes. However, the latest edition omits these for the first time.

Dublin Bus' 'Core Route Map' does, however, provide some visual information about key routes in the city.
Transport for Ireland provides excellent urban route diagrams for Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny and below, Waterford. There is a simple colour coded index ...
... a more than adequate route diagram (part only shown below) ...
... and a fully detailed geographically accurate map of the central area.
But all you get from TFI for Dublin is a rail and Luas tram diagram (again, part shown below).

But for bus ...

The "core route map", referred to by Wiki, is fine if you journey happens to be on those services; but once "out in the sticks" you have nothing.

This makes understanding the current proposals for a major network re-jig somewhat tricky - but, never one to shrink from tackling the tantalising trouble of transport topography, fbb will (as Wilfred Pickes used to say) "Have a Go!". Sadly there is no Mabel at the table to "give 'im the money" ...

... or Harry Hudson at the Piano to accompany the song which was sung onmes with gusto at the end of the show.

For those younger that about 107, the allusion will be meaningless; but "Have A Go" was a hugely popular radio show "bringing the people to the people", back in the days when you only had a BBC telly with a wobbly picture.

Here are extracts from this "core" set of routes; first, the central area.

Missing from this diagram is the River Liffey, admittedly not carrying many bus services; BUT a useful geographical feature to aid the translation of the diagram into reality.  Bachelors Walk and Eden Quay are on the north bank of the river, whilst Aston Quay and Burgh Quay are on the south.

Note that MOST services run via D'Olier Street OR Westmorland Street. Here is Google Earth to help us.

D'Olier Street is one way southbound (approx) ...
... and Westmoreland Street one way northbound.
Straight ahead, as we look north, is O'Connell Bridge and O'Connell Street, famed landmarks of the great city of Dublin. It has changed a bit since 1912 ...

... and its changed a bit more since the modern trams arrived!

The city centre diagram is, clearly, inadequate for all but the very expert local bus or tram passenger. The tram is running on a one way section, but a whole street apart.

Google Streetview is erratic in its presentation of the trams but here is O'Connell GPO northbound tram stop ...
... and the stop at Marlborough southbound.
The cross city link on the GREEN line only opened in 2017, previously the line ran in twp sections with a large gap in the middle. The RED line runs at right angles with a stop in Abbey Street (both directions).
But fbb is only putting off the dreaded day when he begins to examine the Dublin Bus network now and after the proposed reorganisation.

The old man will be grappling with the GREEN group of bus routes ...

... which run west from the city centre.

They call at Heuston railway station ...

... with its imposing frontage and a long long side-age on St Johns Road.
Except, they don't! They actually stop on Park Gate Street ...
... at a not very imposing stop for the important and very imposing rail terminus.
Such are the joys of simplified Core Bus Network maps!

Thereafter the 25, 66 and 67 services follow a common set of roads until the splurge apart at the end. 

The only Dublin Bus on Streetview near the station was ...

One on Driver Training duty!

Without a proper map, fbb's investigations will be rudimentary!

And will follow tomorrow!

The Joys Of Shopping On-Line

Hornby R6955 tank wagon - brand new.

As far as fbb can tell, no wagon looking like the Hornby model ever existed - unless someone "out there" knows better!

Here are the current prices on-line with plus (+) postage shown

15.00 + 2.50

15.29 + 3.99

15.29 + 4.00

15.50 + 0.00 (1)

15.50 + 2.75

16.48 + 3.50

16.99 + 4.10

16.99 + 0.00

16.99 + 4.98 (2)

16.99 + 5.00

18.59 + 0.00

20.49 + 0.00

(1) as purchased by fbb from The Cheltenham Model Centre

(2) price ordered direct from Hornby

Price variation from £15.50 to £21.99 including postage.




Today the fbbs are taking an chum to the hospital for a visit which might include an outpatient "procedure". Whilst the NHS is very noble and wonderful etc. this procedure is encompassed with ifs and buts and no clear guidance as to timescale. If the gang is stuck there all day, tomorrows blog may be curtailed. On the other hand the hospital Wifi might work and fbb can compose "while U wait".

 Next Dublin blog : Thursday 1st October 

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Wading Through The Black Lake (1)


People often suggest that having some form of state control would ensure that public transport was properly coordinated and utilities such as timetables, maps and web sites would be clearer and easier to use.

Apart from a few airport bus services, almost all public transport in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) is state owned or state controlled. But it is not quite as simple as it seems!

Eleven brands, eleven logos, eleven structures are all involved in supplying buses, trains and trams to the good folk of the land of leprechauns!
Sadly the Leprechaun Line coach company operates from a base in ...
New York State, USA.

We start with the easy bits.
Córas Iompair Éireann, (Irish Transport System), or CIÉ, is a statutory corporation of the Republic of Ireland, answerable to the Irish Government and responsible for most public transport in Ireland and jointly with its Northern Ireland counterpart, the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company for the railway service between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

It has three subsidiaries:-
Iarnród Éireann, also known as Irish Rail in English, is the operator of the national railway network of RoI.
It has a subsidiary subsidiary brand ...
The Dublin Area Rapid Transit system (stylised as DART) is an electrified commuter rail railway network serving the coastline and city centre of Dublin. The service makes up the core of Dublin's suburban railway network, stretching from Greystones, County Wicklow, in the south to Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin.
Oddly, it only uses the English name, probably because the Irish Gaelic version doesn't make a nice snappy acronym!

And so to the dog.
Bus Éireann, (Irish Bus) is a bus and coach operator providing services throughout the Republic of Ireland with the exception of Dublin Region bus services.
Which naturally leads us to :--
Bus Átha Cliath (Dublin Bus is a bus operator providing services in Dublin
Buses have appeared in a green version of the standard livery to celebrate the "greenness" of the hybrid bus. Note the TFI loco plus text, one of a series of TFI brands allocated in recent times.
The passengers don't care, of course, as long as their expected bus turns up!

But even Dublin Bus is not quite so simple.
Between September 2018 and March 2019, 24 Dublin Bus routes and 125 buses were progressively taken over by Go-Ahead Ireland after their operation was put out to tender.
GoAhead buses are big-branded for Transport For Ireland aka The National Transport Authority (NTA) ...
... with secondary branding for the operator.
Thus we see that the tendering process was implemented by:-
Údarás Náisiúnta Iompair (The National Transport Authority - NTA) is the transport authority for Greater Dublin and the public transport licensing agency for Ireland. It was established under the provisions of the Dublin Transport Authority Act (2008) and the Public Transport Regulation Act (2009), on 1 December 2009.

The NTA took over certain functions from the Department of Transport and the entire role of the Dublin Transportation Office. It has also taken over the functions of the Commission for Taxi Regulation.

This structure looks a bit like a mixture of a Greater Dublin PTE and The Traffic Commissioners but it is presented to the public as ...
Transport for Ireland.

The scheme was announced to "improve efficiency" or, in other more meaningful words, to save money. We must assume that GoAhead runs a more efficient operation than Dublin Bus OR, maybe, GoAhead has tendered low to get the work and continue with some mega-plan for world domination which does not require every subsidiary company to rake in hyper-profits.

The philosophy of the big bus groups is shrouded in mystery and overseen by the grey suits of the major Stock Market investors. Serving the Public - don't make us laugh!

But there's more!
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (Irish: Bonneagar Iompair Éireann) is a state agency in Ireland dealing with road and public transport infrastructure. The body was established in 2015 by merging the former National Roads Authority and Railway Procurement Agency.

So a mix of the equivalents of the UK's Network Rail and the Highways Agency. Perversely, TII is respinsible for The Dublin tram network.
It would be usual for LUAS to be an acronym, but, in fact, it is Irish Gaelic for "Speed"
Luas is operated by Trabsdev!
Although Transdev behaves as if it were a real company, it is 50% owned by ...
... which dates back to 1816 and, surprise, surprise, it part of the French Government. 

To deliver the desired benefits of state ownership and control (?), all operating companies run their own web sites with their own timetables, so GoAhead Ireland's services do not appear on the Dublin Bus site, Luas is missing from Dublin's bus site and is not present on the national or local rail information sources.

fbb hopes his readers have absorbed all this and so they will be ready for the main purpose of this series of blogs.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) said the new bus network for Dublin will increase bus services by 23%.

The new bus network has been unveiled based on eight new super frequency spines and 12 orbital route, which will be introduced on a phased basis starting the new year subject to government funding.

The final design follows three rounds of public consultation involving a total of 72,000 submissions.

It is based on the cross city spines lettered A to H arriving every five to 15 minutes connecting with 12 orbital routes and a large number of local routes.

The political organisation (pseudo PTE for Greater Dublin) has come up with a cunning plan involving frequent "spokes" connecting with more local services at suburban "hubs" offering a substantial "improvement" in bus services.

Now haven't we heard something like this before?

But before passing judgement, we need to understand the wonderplan in a little more detail and, as we shall see, that is quite difficult.

And, by the way, Dublin in Irish Gaelic means "black lake"!


What's Going On?
fbb has just put in a low EBay offer for this:-
What is it - and what would the old man be wanting it for?

 Next Dublin blog : Wednesday 30th September