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For a better transport service in Dublin - please critique and add


This Country

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Joined
Jul 11, 2010
Messages
150
I know I can't be the only one to use Dublin's public transport system and see obvious - and for the most part cheap - ways in which it could be improved. Here are a few suggestions - please add to them and critique them. I'm thinking of putting together a list (and possibly a petition) to give to the Minister, so the P.ie scrutiny would be most welcome. My experience is of the northside DART and of the bus, informed by living in Moscow, Kyiv, London and a few other places with public transport even worse than Dublin's. My knowledge of the LUAS is a blindspot, so any suggestions for improvement there would be a great help. The emphasis should be on cheap, common sense ways to make things run smoother.

DART

Cheapish changes:
- Put the "next train" tickers outside the station as well as inside. Where applicable, they should be alongside their bus counterparts. This way, you know whether or not it worthwhile buying a ticket before getting to the platform and realising you have 20 minutes standing around to do.
- Get rid of the "this train serves all stations to Howth" tickers. It should be presumed that this is the case unless otherwise stated. These take up valuable space on tickers that can only display two trains at any one time.
- The 'name of station' signs on platforms should be clearly illuminated, and should be in groups of two at an angle of, say, 30 degrees to the line of the platform in either direction. This way, you can easily read them if you are not directly in line with them.
- There should be clear maps outside all DART stations, so you know exactly where the station is in relation to anything else.
- The location of DART stations should be made far clearer, with signs in village centres pointing to the nearest one with an estimated walking time.
- The Irish Rail logo has to be revised. As it stands, it is an arrow, so whenever it is used as a sign, it is pointing in the wrong direction about half the time. This might sound funny, but I have been stopped by tourists on numerous occasions who have walked for a mile in the wrong direction as a result and want to know where the station is!
- Has anyone noticed how slow things like ticket turnstiles and doors opening are in the DART? What is the advantage?
- Also, why are there turnstiles that are simultaneously open from either side in Connolly Station? There is no obvious benefit of this and it creates unnecessary confusion.
- Where there are escalators there should be a clear green side and red side to show which side you should stand on and let people in a hurry run past.
- A basic rule of marketing is that, if you must keep your customers waiting, make sure they are comfortable. Our Dart stations are mostly outdoors and without enough benches. Stations should have a single long bench (or even ledge) the length of the platform, ideally with a heated pipe underneath for the winter. If it is an open air station, the bench should have a shelter. As it stands, we often have benches and shelters that don't match up, giving you the choice of sitting on a wet bench in the rain or standing in a shelter.
- Few stations have any kind of shop or cafe beyond the ticket turnstiles. This seems to be a wasted opportunity, since you would have a captive audience waiting around for up to 20 minutes at a time.
- How many times have you seen advertising for events that have already happened weeks (or sometimes months) previously. This is a massively inefficient use of advertising. Also, the kind of information Irish Rail could get from smart card ticketing would allow for far more targeted advertising; if adjusted for the time of day, they could charge far more of a premium to advertisers.
- The links between DART, Luas and bus services should be made absolutely clear to potential users. This means a highly targeted communications campaign, telling each neighbourhood which buses suit them to get to the nearest DART or Luas, via billboard or post. If there isn't such a connecting service, a study should be done as to demand and it should be put out to private tender for minibus "Marshrutka" services.
- DART stations should have separated entrances and exits, this speeds things up and means that, if you are going for a train agains the flow of rush hour, you aren't delayed by a stampede coming from the opposite direction.
- If DART stations must be announced in Irish, it should be absolutely clear that it is in Irish (i.e., written in a different colour and announced at the same time as the corresponding ticker). Otherwise it is unnecessarily confusing for tourists/newcomers. On the same subject, it should be impossible for the onboard ticker to announce the wrong station with RFID technology these days.

More substantial changes:
- The Howth-Howth Junction part of the DART line should be a frequent shuttle service, with two trains constantly going back and forth. This way, the stations between Howth Junction and Malahide and between Howth Junction and Howth don't get a reduced service. Enclose Howth Junction so it is an indoor station, to encourage transfer (which is no big deal in any underground system for that very reason). You would never be waiting more than a few minutes for a transfer in either direction.
- The enclosing of the rougher DART stations and addition of a shop inside (that's open as long as the station is open) would make them much more hospitable and commuter friendly. It could also allow for extra parking space above any stations that are below ground level.

BUS
- All bus stops should have route maps - London has it, why can't we?
- All bus stops should be named, as opposed to a the current situation, in which they just have a number.
- Bus fares should be shown clearly at all bus stops, so people can have their change ready before getting on. At the moment, the price of various journeys seems to be a kind of folklore, that you have to know by being in the know.
- The buses should have audio announcements for the next stop as they are approaching, a la London
 
D

Dylan2010

BUS
- All bus stops should have route maps - London has it, why can't we?
- All bus stops should be named, as opposed to a the current situation, in which they just have a number.
- Bus fares should be shown clearly at all bus stops, so people can have their change ready before getting on. At the moment, the price of various journeys seems to be a kind of folklore, that you have to know by being in the know.
- The buses should have audio announcements for the next stop as they are approaching, a la London
Agree with that, I dont use buses on a regular basis and I never know what the cost will be. better would be all prepaid/tokens. By bugbear with buses is that there are too many stops imo. they should be similar to the LUAS distances which would work if Dublin Bus got their real time info correct.
 
J

john moriarty

Just one small point re Luas.
Developing a proper identity
for on-street signage would
help a lot of out-of-towners.
I don't just mean signposts.
A proper branding exercise
like the London Tube or Paris
Metro. It's like they're hiding
the locations.
 

This Country

Active member
Joined
Jul 11, 2010
Messages
150
Agree with that, I dont use buses on a regular basis and I never know what the cost will be. better would be all prepaid/tokens. By bugbear with buses is that there are too many stops imo. they should be similar to the LUAS distances which would work if Dublin Bus got their real time info correct.
You're right about the tokens; I think that's the way things are headed once Dublin Bus stop their (presumably trade union) resistance to the Leap Card and give in to a simple flat rate fare.

On the amount of stops, I think this is the advantage of the Bus. They should however print the route maps on the bus stops where possible, so you have an idea where it is going and what it connects to.
 

This Country

Active member
Joined
Jul 11, 2010
Messages
150
Just one small point re Luas.
Developing a proper identity
for on-street signage would
help a lot of out-of-towners.
I don't just mean signposts.
A proper branding exercise
like the London Tube or Paris
Metro. It's like they're hiding
the locations.
Totally agree. There's a great opportunity for civic branding here too. Something as instantly recognisable and stylish as the Paris Metro logo could greatly enhance the look of the place.
 
D

Dylan2010

You're right about the tokens; I think that's the way things are headed once Dublin Bus stop their (presumably trade union) resistance to the Leap Card and give in to a simple flat rate fare.

On the amount of stops, I think this is the advantage of the Bus. They should however print the route maps on the bus stops where possible, so you have an idea where it is going and what it connects to.
do you think? less busstops would mean faster times, less hassle for car drivers and the remaining stops could be upgraded with ticket machines and real time displays, cameras for safety. Around our area they seem to avergae 100m to 200m apart which there is no need for.
 

This Country

Active member
Joined
Jul 11, 2010
Messages
150
do you think? less busstops would mean faster times, less hassle for car drivers and the remaining stops could be upgraded with ticket machines and real time displays, cameras for safety. Around our area they seem to avergae 100m to 200m apart which there is no need for.
I suppose a case-by-case review is required, and there is a strong argument for express services bypassing a lot of the stops. I think a lot of the stops could be smarter located too, but again a "take every game on its merits" is needed.
 

petronius

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May 12, 2004
Messages
84
This Country - Put the "next train" tickers outside the station as well as inside - is a simple and great idea.
A roof on howth jn maybe only justifiable if shuttle service was the way to go.
The Maps Idea is also an old chesnut which I hear, Arrow/Suburban rail, Luas and Dart should better associate with bus routes, which should dovetail into stations, or bustops aside stations. With information such as routes and schedules easy to follow
 

This Country

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Messages
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This Country - Put the "next train" tickers outside the station as well as inside - is a simple and great idea.
A roof on howth jn maybe only justifiable if shuttle service was the way to go.
And I reckon it could easily be achieved if the Dept invoked some competition law in the same way energy companies have to show competitors' prices. Trades descriptions act could also be relevant.

From Irish Rail's point of view it also give them the opportunity to advertise their services. Imagine you are walking down Westland Row and you see that there is a train to Malahide in 10 minutes, Howth in 15 minutes, Greystones in 20 minutes or whatever; it gives far greater visibility to the station's services. It would have to be tastefully done of course, but provides a great opportunity for branding if done properly.
 

petronius

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Joined
May 12, 2004
Messages
84
Well if there are legal issues, the gov should legislate to overcome them.
Like having the times on the side of Connolly Station, or Tara Street before you have to make that mad dash up the stairs or not would be great.. and vica versa, having the Bus times and routes/map in the station would also be helpful especially to tourists etc.
 
D

Dylan2010

Well if there are legal issues, the gov should legislate to overcome them.
Like having the times on the side of Connolly Station, or Tara Street before you have to make that mad dash up the stairs or not would be great.. and vica versa, having the Bus times and routes/map in the station would also be helpful especially to tourists etc.
smart phone technology should largely make this not such a big issue. That's the kind of information I want when I am in Grafton street or O'Connell street so you can judge which Dart to go for.
 

asset test

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Oct 3, 2008
Messages
14,812
Some great points there OP.

Dublin Bus Real time info, while dodgy in parts is great, and the app is the business too. No point leaving the house if the next bus is ages away.

Flat fares is the way to go. I agree with op that the fares and stops and destinations are indeed something you either know, or are totally ignorant about. Thre is little middle ground there. Stages...what are they? Totally confusing wrt to fare structure if you don't know where the stops are?

Even a flat fare from terminus to terminus and half that on all stops from a certain stop would ease the confusion greatly. Bus stops to say whether they are in zone onr or two etc.

Agree there are too many bus stops. Some are within '5 seconds of each other!

And a personal gripe although it doesn't affect me much... The Airport 747 service to and from Heuston. The route has changed to encompass more hotels in the city which is fine, but where does this bus stop? The website doesn't give any clues! So presumably you have to walk outside your hotel and look for the Airport Bus Sign at the stop. Mad. Tourists and even the natives must be baffled.

Am not near Dart, and only use Luas occasionally.
 

This Country

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150
Another suggestion, this one taken from the Tokyo metro, where it seems to work very well. It's a chart on the platform that tells you where on the platform you should stand so when you get off the train you'll be closest to the exit of the station you're getting off at.



Think it would work on the DART? Very cheap to put up...
 

Analyzer

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A bus service from Malahide DART to Tallaght Luas along the M50, with stops in Swords, Dublin Airport, Blanchardstown/Connolly Hospital, Lucan outside Liffey Valley, Red Cow Junction Luas on to a bus terminus in Rathcoole for buses coming in from the Naas Road, and then back to the new train station in Adamstown.

And a second bus line from Leixlip Rail station to Lucan then south on the M50, picking up at Luas Red Cow, and then towards Dundrum/Sandyford Luas, meet the M11 on regional bus stop, then Glenageary DART station, and the Dun Laoghaire.

Call it Line M50A, and M50B.

Simply put have interchanges on the outer orbital route, to connect with interregional trains, and interregional bus services, and even car parks.
 

Podolski1.5

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Two-thirds of the population live outside of Dublin, they are also entitled to proper public transport.

Most of the railcars serving the Cork suburban services are Dublin's cast offs. I suspect that they are sent to Limerick when Cork is finished with them and by which time they are barely able to leave the station without breaking down. Many of them still have the Dublin Bay transport map and often the direction signs on the trains are broken. I recently stepped on the Cork-Cobh train which bore the destination sign "Drogheda". Luckily I'm not a tourist or I would have been rightly confused.

End of the day it is down to funding. Ireland has some of the lowest state subventions to public transport in Europe and the present government is intent on cutting it even more and privatising the bus network. One can hardly expect CIÉ to provide a decent service if its hands are tied and many of its management would rather be in the private sector making dividends from the service in addition to drawing their salaries.
 

Analyzer

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46,201
Two-thirds of the population live outside of Dublin, they are also entitled to proper public transport.

Most of the railcars serving the Cork suburban services are Dublin's cast offs. I suspect that they are sent to Limerick when Cork is finished with them and by which time they are barely able to leave the station without breaking down. Many of them still have the Dublin Bay transport map and often the direction signs on the trains are broken. I recently stepped on the Cork-Cobh train which bore the destination sign "Drogheda". Luckily I'm not a tourist or I would have been rightly confused.
There are trains on the Dublin-Sligo line which were Made in England (Sheffield, I think) in 1971.

This must make them a tourist attraction.
 

hammer

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Also take about 40% of the Dublin Bus fleet off the road.


Less polution. Less gridlock.

Sell the buses.
 

This Country

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Most of the railcars serving the Cork suburban services are Dublin's cast offs... Many of them still have the Dublin Bay transport map and often the direction signs on the trains are broken. I recently stepped on the Cork-Cobh train which bore the destination sign "Drogheda". Luckily I'm not a tourist or I would have been rightly confused.
I've heard that before, extraordinary sloppiness. I don't think that kind of thing can be blamed on lack of funding - how much can it cost to change a few signs and reprogram a ticker?
 

asset test

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I heard Don Thornhill on the radio earlier (he of property tax review group) and amongst other things public transport was discussed.

He said that thre is good competition outside Dublin, but in Dublin it's a monopoly (sounds like MOL there!)

Of course the interviewer stated the old nugget about privatisation leading to the death of unprofitable routes.

He replied that we should emulate London. Routes were tendered in blocks that included good and bad routes. An interesting thing is that although LT is privatised, all buses have the same livery, uniforms etc. so no one knows who has what route. Just the operator.

Interesting discussion, I thought.
 
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