Photo of the Week - Week 47:
The big news this week is the conversion of Routes 15 and 41 to 24-hour operation, each route operating a 30min frequency between midnight and 5am. The first services ran last night, i.e. from the 30th November into 1st December 2019. This is a great addition to Dublin's transport system, finally starting to catch up on other cosmopolitan cities such as London, which has had night buses since 1913. The two routes retain their normal route number, as the routes are not changed at night, and the fare structure is the same. One notable point is that a new garage is added to the 15 operation, with 3 garages involved in daytime (Donnybrook, Harristown, Ringsend (peak-hour extras)) and night-time services (Donnybrook, Harristown, Summerhill). Summerhill's bus on the 15 on the first night was EV48, a strange allocation to a normally strict SG-class route.
Dublin has been long associated with an 1130pm last bus, however it's worth noting that this wasn't always the case. In the late 30s, the last buses from the city were typically at 1215am on most routes. Material shortages during World War 2 saw the last bus brought forward to times as early as 930pm during the worst curfews. As shortages reduced in the late 40s, there was reluctance among driving staff to increase departures past 11pm, an agreement eventually being reached in July 1949 to bring last departures from city to 1130pm. And that was pretty much it, with some limited extras for special events until the Nitelink service began in December 1991. This NiteLink service is not the true definition of a night bus, being uni-directional from the city and, in general, picking up passengers solely in the city (some limited pick-up points were added in 2000). With the 15 and 41 changes, both the 15N and 41N have been cancelled. The 33N has been rerouted via River Valley (and Portrane on a departure), while the 49N has been rerouted via Rathfarnham. It is interesting that, given the NiteLink is a premium service, passengers bound for River Valley in Swords will pay twice the fare (€6.60 versus €3.30) of those heading to Swords Manor, which is a longer journey.