Photo of the Week - Week 2:
Conyngham Road's ALX400 bodied Volvo B7LDD, AX517, is seen at its terminus at Blanchardstown Centre on the 8th January 2011.
The number 76A is one of many that is currently on borrowed time. Dublin Bus announced prior to Christmas that the 76/A/B were to become one route. However in this case it is basically the 76A that will become the official routing, avoiding the suburban estates of Tallaght and Blanchardstown, and Ballyfermot Village and being denoted solely as Route 76. To this extent it heralds a new way of thinking for orbital services.
The original 76, though orbital in the fact that it didn't serve the city centre, was very meandering, serving basically all of Tallaght before even heading towards Clondalkin. Customers who boarded at the terminus on the Old Bawn Road, a terminus shared with the 49, were brought on a day trip around Seskin View, Tymon North, Kilnamanagh, Tallaght Village, Springfield and Fettercairn before heading towards Clondalkin Village, Neilstown and Ballyfermot Village. It was a number of years before the Tallaght routing was split into the 76 and 76B.
The new 76 will be more direct, terminating at either end at principle shopping centres in the Western Suburbs and serving another on the way. This routing will be much quicker than anything experienced before, with low population estates being vacated to focus on high density, high traffic main roads. Though some will be inconvienced by this change, changes such as this or the 220 in the Finglas region, show the company changing tact with regards orbitals. They are not meandering services that serve everyone but due to their length serve nobody, they are direct, high frequency services that will connect the main points of interest outside of the city centre.
The 76A began operation the very day the Westlink opened on the 12th March 1990, the first section of what was to become the M50 linking Palmerstown with Blanchardstown. The bus was basically an extended 76 to Blanchardstown Hospital. Upon the opening of The Square shopping centre in October 1990, it was extended to Blakestown via Hartstown and Huntstown, again showing Dublin Bus' tendency to have orbital services serving every meandering estate along its journey, though it was straightened out on its Tallaght leg terminating at The Square. Later in the 90s, the routing was reversed on the Hartstown/Hunstown loop and in 1996 it was extended into the newly opened Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.
Strangely, the 76 has never entered the grounds of the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, though under the new routing it will. This has always been considered an oversight, as the Liffey Valley is one of the main shopping centres in the country and therefore an ideal location that could have boosted traffic on this orbital route.
More recently the 76A number has been used to signify two things. As per its original form it indicates whether northbound buses are heading to Blanchardstown Centre. However when buses are heading southbound it instead indicates that buses are terminating at The Square, with 76 denoting Fettercairn bound buses and 76B indicating Balrothery bound buses. AV353 below is operating a 76A service to The Square from the West County Hotel only.
Conyngham Road's former Wedding Bus, AV353, is seen operating a Route 76A departure to The Square on the 24th July 2010.