Go-Ahead School Routes:
On the 31st August 2020, 8 new routes began operation in North County Dublin. These routes are the 33S, 102A, 102C, 102P, 102S, 220S, 236S and 270S. These routes are slight variants of existing routes in the network, and all are operated by Go-Ahead. The reason for their introduction is to help out existing services that were previously heavily loaded with school passengers, allowing minor variations and extentions to better serve schools. However, based on observation these routes have not had the best of starts and in all my observations/photographs, I did not see one passenger on board any of them. To enable the routes to begain operation, Go-Ahead received 9 former Dublin Bus AX-class vehicles, which had been in store, namely ex AX497-AX505 which have become 11701-11709, following the same numerical sequence.
Route 102A operates from Greenfield Road (outside the Domincan College) to Swords Pavillions. It is interesting that in order to turn about the buses follow the 31A loop of Shielmartin Road, thus passing the terminus of Routes 102C and 102S but not stopping. This must be to preserve capacity for the Domincan College students. The route proceeds along Greenfield Road rejoining the existing 102 service at Sutton Station, though not serving Sutton Station itself. It follows the 102 routing all the way to Swords Pavillions. It operates in one direction only in the afternoon/evening, the alternate morning service operating as Route 102 to St. Fintan's Road.
Route 102C operates from St Fintan's Road (outside Sutton Park School) to Balgriffin. Buses follow the same one way loop as the 31A, out via Strand Road and St. Fintan's Road to terminus, then out via Shielmartin Road and Strand Road. In the photo above, the 102C is about to pass the 31A terminus which is the 2nd stop. Buses also stop at the 102A terminus on Greenfield Road, heading through Sutton Cross to join the 102 route. Buses follow the 102 route to Malahide Station then continue along the Malahide Road to Balgriffin Cottages.
Route 102P operates from Portmarnock Community School on Carrickhill Road to the shops at Rathingle (former 41C terminus), just past River Valley estate. It operates as per Route 102 between these two points.
Route 102S operates from St Fintan's Road (outside Sutton Park School) to Swords Pavillions. It has the same St Fintan's Road terminus as Route 102C, operating the same route to Greenfield Road, where it rejoins the same routing as the 102A to Swords Pavillions. As noted before, in the morning there are two 102S services, whereas in the afternoon there is only one, with the other bus returning as a 102A to ensure space for Dominican College students.
Route 220S operates from Mellows Road (Finglas Garda Station) to Collins Avenue West (St. Aidan's School). It was noted that GA11909 operated special along the N2, then along Mellows Road to loop at the old 17A terminus, returning up Mellows Road to the Garda Station at the time of departure. For this reason its interesting it doesn't serve the previous bus stop on Mellows Road. Having departed its first stop, it heads along Mellows Road onto Seamus Ennis Road, joining the 220 route as it turns onto Jamestown Road. It follows the 220 route, via Shangan, to Collins Avenue Extension, but as shown above, buses do not turn into DCU instead heading to the next stop on Collins Avenue West to terminate. The Whitehall display looks interesting, its been a while since this long well-used scrolled destination has been seen.
Route 236S operates from Coolmine Industrial Estate, just outside Scoil Oilibeir, to Tyrellstown. It operates from Scoil Oilibeir to Blanchardstown Centre via Snugborough Road Extension, does a loop around Blanchardstown Centre serving both 236 stops towards Tyrellstown, before following the 236 route to Tyrellstown. How many school children live in the Corporate Park or the Ballycoolin Business Park is open to debate, yet this route serves both. One wonders if a Route 238S would have made more sense.
Route 270S operates from the Diswellstown Road (near Castleknock Community College and St Patricks School) to Littlepace. It operates along Diswellstown Road to Blanchardstown Centre as per Route 37, loops and serves the 270 stop in Blanchardstown Centre, then operates as per Route 270 to Littlepace terminating outside the shops there. As can be seen from my photos, 11701 got around on the day I took photos which was a Wednesday. Wednesday means you can catch the Blanchardstown services which do lunch time departures and still catch the 102C departure in Sutton. But with enough time to catch the 236S, the 270S and the 102C, it is also possible for the same bus to operate each departure. On any other day, these three departures would be operated by different buses around 4pm.