This feature looks at the the fifth phase of Bus Connects with the introduction of Western-Orbital Routes W4, W61 and W62 on the 25th June 2023 operated by Go-Ahead Ireland. The booklet for this round of introductions can be found here. Originally the fifth phase was to be the Southern Orbitals, but this was a much more considerable expansion of the peak-vehicle-requirement hence this smaller round of changes being brought forward. As part of the introduction, 21 SGs were transferred from Dublin Bus to Go-Ahead, albeit quite a number of months ago. Go-Ahead have numbered these 11604-24. A few of these had hit the streets recently on various routes, the first morning of the new routes being predominantly an allocation of these transferred vehicles (the earlier numbers as 21 buses are not required).
The W4 links The Square Tallaght with Blanchardstown Shopping Centre via Liffey Valley. From The Square it operates as per Route 27 to Cheeverstown Road, it and the W62 being the buses to replace Route 27 as far as Brookfield when the D-Spine is introduced. It then diverts from this outer ring road into Kingswood on the edge of the CityWest Campus, before rejoinging the outer ring road. It again diverts off the outer ring road to serve Grange Castle, before rejoining. It meets the C-Spine on the Ballyowen Road, serving Liffey Valley on the main N4/Lucan Road before heading onto the M50, exiting at Blanchardstown and operating direct (as per 39A) to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. Thus it is a fairly direct, fast, service. Ultimately, this will replace the peak-hour only Route 76A, but for the moment with the W2 still on hold, both services link The Square and Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. Service levels are very good with a 30mins service standard, increased to 15mins during Monday-Friday peaks.
W6 (W61 & W62):
The W6 in the Bus Connects plan was to be an orbital route from The Square Tallaght to Maynooth (Moyglare). However, there is an incredibly narrow bridge over the canal on the road between Newcastle and Celbridge at Hazelhatch which precludes bus operation. Its not clear if and when the bus service will be introduced in full, but in the mean-time, a W61 from Maynooth (Moyglare) to Hazelhatch Station and a W62 from The Square Tallaght to Newcastle (St Finnians National School) have been introduced. This leaves a large gap in the route, which is unwalkable. Both services operate to a standard 30min frequency.
In their individual forms they don't provide the full service that was envisaged in the original plan. The W61 parallels either the C4 or the L59 for most of its lenght, with the extension to Moyglare its unique selling feature. The W62 offers more connections linking Newcastle with the outskirts of Rathcoole, Saggart, Citywest, Tallaght to the Square. It is also needed to cover the service along Fortunestown Lane which will be needed when the 175 is withdrawn as part of the Southern Orbital introductions.
It would also seem that Go-Ahead did a bit of tweaking to the displays that are being used on these services. The TFI feed notes the destinations of the W61 as Community College for its Maynooth terminus. Likewise, the W62 is listed as St Finnian's National School for its Newcastle terminus. In both cases Go-Ahead would seem to have amended this destination with Maynooth or Newcastle to be more discript on where the routes are going, a lesson no doubt from the N6 introduction and the "Drogheda Mall" destination. If only similar amending could be done to the TFI Live app which is showing the original non-descript desintations.