Bus Connects and Skerries

The following is a copy of the comments made by Skerries Community Association in the recent round of consultations.

Skerries Community Association CLG
Registered Office:
Skerries Community Centre
Dublin Road
Skerries, Co. Dublin


10 December 2019


To: BusConnects



On behalf of Skerries Community Association [www.skerriesca.com] I welcome the opportunity to comments on the revised BusConnects proposals for north Fingal in particular the likely effects on service quality they imply for people in this area.


The revised proposals are:

  • Retain 33x as it is, peak weekdays only direct to city via Dublin Tunnel
  • Retain 33a Balbriggan – Skerries – Swords – Airport, every half hour all day every day
  • Cancel all 33, no bus from Skerries/Rush/Lusk to Dublin city other than 33x; no off-peak service; no service via Santry, Whitehall and Drumcondra; so no service to key places such as DCU


Please note the following

  • In the last consultation, 33 was the route in the whole city/county that got most submissions, 698 in all, and 33x was 3rd highest with 645. So this area (Skerries/Rush/Lusk) is about 2.5% of Dublin population; and maybe 1.5% of bus users, but it generated 9% of submissions. As there were more submissions for 33 than for 33x,  restoring the 33x does not meet people’s needs. NTA said “you spoke, we listened” when they produced the second plan, but they don’t appear to have heard people in this area.
  • All other rail-based communities have good bus services. There will be “Spine” routes  to Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Bray, Blanchardstown and Maynooth. All rail towns. This recognises that the bus plays a supplementary role in all parts of the city/county. This is mainly due rail stations not being close enough for many users and/or bus taking a different route to the city. Both factors are relevant for Skerries.
  • NTA has stated that they have restored direct service to the city for all places within the M50 but have not done so for all outside. The latest plan is, by and large, good for Dublin city, but not for Fingal. We wish to point out that on the first round of consultations the area with the most negative response was Fingal.
  • As an example of mixed thinking, NTA has just doubled service from Newbridge/Naas to Dublin and cancelled local trips between these towns. For us, they want to do the very opposite.

Does Skerries need the 33?

  • It is used for trips to city centre by some people from Downside, Rush Rd. end of the town, who are too far from station to walk, and can’t get parking at station for off-peak travel, or else don’t have a car. Some town centre residents use it for the same reason
  • It is used for trips to third level colleges (DCU, St. Pat’s Teacher Training College) and hospitals (Beaumont, Highfield and Bons Secours)
  • Trips to employment in Turnapin/Santry area
  • There are a very significant number of people using this service who travel south of Airport, perhaps most are Rush and Lusk residents rather than Skerries, but there are certainly some from Skerries

What happens if the 33 service is withdrawn?

  • The alternative is to make a connection in Swords to the Spine route A4, which will run every 12 min. This means you must wait in Swords for the next A4 bus, adding up to 12 min to your journey. There could be loading problems, as so many people getting off the Skerries bus could fill the next A4 and leave some waiting longer.
  • Coming home is worse. Now, you get a 33, which leaves Abbey St. at a known time. Under BusConnects, you will get an A4 in city, but as it leaves Rathfarnham every 12min, it will be impossible to predict exactly what time it gets to your stop.  It will also be impossible to predict how long it takes to get to Swords. Bus from Swords to Skerries will be only every 30 min, so you could be waiting on the street in Swords for up to 29 min. Just to continue your journey home, whereby now you are simply staying on the one bus.

The need to provide really good bus (and rail and metro and tram etc etc) services has never been greater as the era of unlimited car transport is gradually coming to an end.

Realistic alternatives must be provided for people, especially those who do NOT have cars or do not want cars or cannot use cars.  Those who point to the train service that Skerries has, and claim that all is well therefore, do not live in Skerries and do not appreciate that the train does not serve all key destinations for the citizens of Skerries (not to mention the grotesque overcrowding on trains that will continue for years).

Yours sincerely,


Michael McKenna

Skerries Community Association