There is a parallel universe out there. It’s the one in which the M3 which bulldozed ancient sites at Tara and the N25 which completely over-estimated traffic in Waterford, were needed.
It’s the one which built the M50 which has now been upgraded over and over again because they got it wrong in the first place.
But nobody likes admitting stuff like that.
So here we are with Bus Connects on which millions has already been spent. This plan is making the cost of the Children’s Hospital look like small change.
And unlike the Children’s Hospital, it will not be admired or useful if and when it’s ever in place.
But Connects, all €2bn of it, has been planned on the premise that a) almost everyone will want to travel into Dublin City Centre every day and b) the people who live in the suburbs through which Bus Corridors will be bulldozed are irrelevant.
Well, everything has changed. At least, everything has changed in the universe in which I live.
But not in the universe inhabited by the National Transport Authority.
Right now, more and more people are working from home and experts from all sorts of fields are suggesting that that’s a trend which will continue.
There will also be, they say, more work hubs in the suburbs.
And fewer people will shop in the city or travel into the city to be entertained.
So obviously, Bus Connects has taken all this on board.
I asked them if they had any plans to alter the scheme due to the effects of Covid which, we are told, may last for years and years.
This is what they said: While Covid may be with us for some time, BusConnects takes a longer-term view and we believe that an efficient and reliable public transport system, with a high-quality bus service at its core, will continue to be of vital importance in the years and decades ahead.
Yes, of course people still travel into the city.
But having just returned from driving Connie in (I don’t leave the car due to my health difficulties) I could see, both on the way in and the way out, hundreds, maybe thousands walking and cycling. The buses were virtually empty.
Indeed, I saw a bus in Rathmines at 7 o’clock on Friday evening, heading townwards, and it carried one passenger. One person heading into Dublin on a Friday evening.
Bus Connects will devastate areas such as Shankill, Glasnevin, Rathgar, Terenure, Harold’s Cross and others.
They will tell you they consulted. And indeed, I was present at meetings where people criticised the plan and Bus Connects did indeed make some minor alternations.
“Consultation” is a great illusion. They sit, they let you talk and then go away and do what they were always going to do claiming we all had our say.
Well, Bus Connects is going to spend €2bn of our money on a scheme which may or may not be needed.
But the NTA has no Plan B. It has no plans to alter the scheme which was put together long before Covid-19. It’s ploughing ahead.
And I mean ploughing…
…through those suburban villages I mentioned.
Seems the needs of people who will speed through these areas for five minutes a day in each direction, take precedent over the people who actually live in them.
I hope the NTA has a drawing board.
And I hope they go back to it.