We've redesigned the bus network and we want to know what you think.

The bus network serving the Waterford area is being redesigned. Local authorities, Bus Éireann and the NTA have collaborated on a Draft New Network.

Once finalised, the New Network will be implemented starting in 2026 and will continue to evolve to support Waterford’s future growth.

Visit the pages on this site using the buttons below, click "Get Started" to move through the information in order, or jump to the survey questions.

Learn about BusConnects and the bus network redesign process. 
Understand the trade-offs and choices that arise when designing a public transport network. 
Explore the Draft New Network. 
After you’ve reviewed the Draft New Network, let us know what you think. 
Find out what happens next and how to stay involved. 

= Page includes questions or opportunities for comment.

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BusConnects

BusConnects will overhaul the current bus system with nine types of improvement and investment. These include: 1. Completely redesigning the bus network. 2. Building a network of new bus and cycle corridors. 3. New state-of-the-art ticketing system. 4. Implementing cashless payment system. 5. Revamping the fare system. 6. New bus livery. 7. New bus stops and shelters with better signage and information. 8. New park and ride sites in key locations. 9.Transitioning to a new zero emissions bus fleet.

2023 Existing Waterford urban bus network

About BusConnects

BusConnects is a programme of transport investment in Ireland’s metropolitan areas. It is developed and managed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and funded by Project Ireland 2040.

Redesigning the bus network is the first measure.

Purpose

BusConnects Waterford will help realise these local and national policies in the Waterford area:

  • The Waterford Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (WMATS)
  • The National Development Plan
  • The National Sustainable Mobility Policy
  • The Climate Action Plan
  • The Waterford City and County Development Plan

Why are we doing this?

The Waterford Metropolitan Area is expected to grow 50% more populous by the year 2040. In light of this growth and national efforts to reduce carbon emissions from transport, there is an urgent need to invest in bus services in Waterford.

The Waterford bus network has evolved with the growth of the city. In 2018 frequencies were improved, especially on weekends, and more people started using the bus as a result. Further improvements are due in order to:

  • Make public transport more useful and attractive.
  • Reduce dependency on the private car.
  • Support employment, education and population growth in public-transport-accessible locations.
BusConnects|BusConnects will overhaul the current bus system with nine types of improvement and investment. These include: 1. Completely redesigning the bus network. 2. Building a network of new bus and cycle corridors. 3. New state-of-the-art ticketing system. 4. Implementing cashless payment system. 5. Revamping the fare system. 6. New bus livery. 7. New bus stops and shelters with better signage and information. 8. New park and ride sites in key locations. 9.Transitioning to a new zero emissions bus fleet.

Bus network redesign

This project is an opportunity to rethink the design of Waterford’s public bus network.

This is a “blank slate” redesign, which can change the roads buses run on, the times and days of service, frequencies, and where people interchange.

Routes W1 through W5 in Waterford are under study. These routes are currently operated by Bus Éireann.

Some proposed routes in the Draft New Network resemble those in the existing bus network. This is because they would support present and future conditions – not because of history or tradition.

All routes in the Draft New Network have been labelled with new numbers, even if they are similar to an existing route.

The purpose of this consultation is to invite members of the public to provide their opinion about the future bus network.

Since every detail of the existing network is something somebody relies on, NTA expects a broad range of positive and negative comments. The key question is whether the extent of the proposed improvements outweigh any inconveniences caused by the change itself.

2023 Existing Waterford urban bus network

2023 Existing Waterford public urban bus network.
(Click images to enlarge.)


Read more

Public Transport Principles

An overarching goal of BusConnects Waterford is to increase people’s access to opportunity using public transport. This requires making it possible for more people to reach more useful places in a reasonable amount of time.

Achieving a higher level of access requires new investment in service, and network design that follows where people are located, and where they need to go.

Review the pages below and learn about key principles in designing an improved bus network in Waterford.


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Access

Access is the number of destinations in an area that can be reached in a certain amount of time.

Access

Access is the number of destinations in an area that can be reached in a certain amount of time.

Design for High Access

A public transport network can increase patronage by increasing access. Access describes how many jobs, people, schools, shops, and other opportunities people can reach by public transport, in a reasonable amount of time.

Increasing the average access provided by a network tends to increase patronage because more of people’s trips become possible on public transport without requiring a lot of time.

Factors that affect access:

  • How many destinations are near public transport routes.
  • How long someone walks to and from service.
  • How long someone waits for the service.
  • How far someone travels on the service.
  • The speed of the service.
  • How long someone waits to interchange between services.

Public transport authorities have control over some of these factors: waiting time, interchange, route directness, where service is provided.

They have less control or no control over other factors: bus speed, travel distances, where jobs and housing are located. These factors are generally controlled by City and County Councils as they manage land use, development and local roads.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Access|Access is the number of destinations in an area that can be reached in a certain amount of time.

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Direct Routes, Higher Complexity

Connections, Lower Complexity

Increase Access by Offering Better Frequency

A public transport network should be greater than the sum of its parts. One bus route can take people to only certain places – but if it makes connections with many other routes and with trains, vastly more places become reachable.

A connected network is key to maximising transport access and thereby transport patronage. A connected network can be simpler, offering better frequencies and therefore shorter waits.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Direct Routes, Long Waits, Complexity

In this network, each route comes every 30 minutes. Using any route requires a long wait

Direct Routes, Higher Complexity

Interchange, Short Waits, Simplicity

In this network, the same number of buses can connect the same places with routes coming every 10 minutes. Some trips require interchange, but waits are much shorter.

Connections, Lower Complexity

But a connected network relies on interchange, and interchange can present a barrier if:

  • An extra fare is charged to change buses.
  • Waiting at the interchange point is uncomfortable.
  • Bus arrival times are not reliable.
  • Finding the correct bus stop or bus is difficult, or requires a long walk.

As part of BusConnects Waterford:

  • There will be no additional fare to interchange, neither among buses nor between buses and trains.
  • Bus stops and shelters where many people wait will be made more comfortable.
  • Bus reliability will be improved.

All of these changes make it possible to design the bus network for faster journeys, greater access and greater patronage, if more interchange is tolerable. How could it be that designing a network for interchange could get people where they're going sooner? Watch the video to learn how.

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Density

Walkability

Linearity

Proximity

Mix of uses

Where to Provide Frequent Service

One of the most powerful ways to increase access across a public transport network is to shorten waits by improving frequency. More frequent service:

  • Reduces waiting time (and thus overall travel time).
  • Lets you travel whenever you want.
  • Improves reliability, because if you miss your bus another one is coming soon.
  • Makes interchange (between two frequent services) fast and reliable.

Waterford’s public bus system now offers real-time arrival information. But even with this technology, routes that are infrequent will still require people to wait. Someone who can time their journey to the bus schedule may not mind using an infrequent route. But most people don’t have that flexibility when going to work, school or an appointment, and a worse frequency often means arriving someplace earlier than they’d like to.

When frequency is improved in places with large numbers of people, jobs and other opportunities, that improves the population’s average access.

Better frequency increases potential for high patronage…but it isn’t enough to cause high patronage. Development patterns, land use and street design have a huge impact on how many people public transport can reach efficiently, and therefore on where frequent service can be provided.

Recognising areas with high patronage potential

Density

A place that is dense with residents, employees, shoppers, students, and visitors has more potential public transport users near each bus stop.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Density

Walkability

To use a bus route, people need to be able to get to the stop, and the vast majority of passengers start their trip by walking.

The street network, footpaths and crossings around a bus stop affect how many people are willing and able to walk to it.

Walkability

Linearity

Exactly where buildings are built determines how linear and efficient public transport routes can be.

When dense developments are far from main roads, or buildings are set at the ends of cul-de-sacs, bus routes must be meander to get close to people. This makes passengers’ journeys longer, and the route costs more to operate.

Linearity

Proximity

Distance is a major contributor to the cost of providing bus routes. The greater the distance, the fewer people can be served within any particular operating budget.

Places that have continuous density and activities along a road are more efficient to serve and can be served with more frequent routes.

Proximity

Mix of Uses

The mix of uses along a road affects how efficiently public transport can serve people. In areas with jobs, shops and housing, people are riding in all directions at all times of day and week. This means that vehicles can be full most of the time that they are out providing service.

Transport in purely residential or job areas tends to be used mostly in one direction – for example, in the mornings buses would be full traveling away from the residences, towards jobs, and mostly empty heading back the other direction. This means the cost of the service is divided over fewer passengers.

Mix of uses
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Draft New Network

Learn about the benefits of the Draft New Network.

Benefits of the Draft New Network

  • The amount of bus service in the Waterford area would nearly double.
  • Within 30 minutes or less, the average resident could access 36% more jobs on weekdays all day ... and 47% more jobs at rush hours.
  • One-third of residents would be within five minutes’ walk of service coming every 15 minutes, seven days per week.

PDF of Draft New Network maps (1.9 MB).

How would the network be different?

  • Shorter waits and easier interchange, thanks to better frequencies.
  • Straighter and faster journeys.
  • Better frequencies on Sundays.
  • Earlier morning service.
  • Some changes to cross-town routes in terms of which areas are directly connected to one another.
  • Service in new areas such as Kilbarry, Skibbereen, Dunmore Road and Slieverue.
  • Areas with one-way services upgraded to two-way service.

Network Map

Instructions: You can use the map below to compare the locations and frequency of existing and proposed new routes and see how access to jobs would change with the Draft New Network. Search by address, click, drag, and zoom to find specific locations. After you click a location, click the buttons on the map toolbar to show and hide information about how the new network would serve that area.

Can't see the map? Try opening in a new window.

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Draft New Bus Network

Draft New Bus Network

Provide Your Feedback

Now that you’ve reviewed the Draft New Network, let us know what you think!

Understanding how people in Waterford feel about this proposal will help the NTA make the right choices in developing the final New Network.

You may return to the previous page to explore the interactive map while you respond to the survey, or you can click to enlarge the New Network Map:

Draft New Bus Network

Draft New Network Map. (Click to enlarge.)

Next Steps

Thank you for your interest. If you have not already submitted feedback, please do so before you leave. Below, you can find out what happens next and how to stay involved.

Timeline

Public input in response to the Draft will inform the Final New Network. It will also inform parallel BusConnects programmes and local plans, such as the development of bus corridors and cycle lanes.

The Final New Network will be published later this year, and changes to routes are expected to begin in 2026.

Stay involved

If you wish to be kept apprised of the progress of this study and opportunities for public comment, send an email to waterfordnetwork@busconnects.ie and you will be added to the announcement list.

For more information

Visit busconnects.ie


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