The BusConnects plan to redesign Dublin Bus services is needed urgently to address traffic congestion in the capital according to the National Transport Authority.

NTA Chief Executive Officer Anne Graham told the Oireachtas Transport Committee that congestion is having an increasing impact on the reliability and speed of the service.

"Additional buses are being added to the system simply to compensate for delays in journey times" she said. 

She said that bus lanes are only in place for less than one third of the corridor on the busiest routes, which means that buses are competing with general traffic for most of the journey.

Ms Graham attended the committee to discuss the Core Bus Corridor project which plans to introduce 230km of bus lanes on 16 'Radial Core Bus Corridors'.

It will involve the loss of some front gardens, on-street parking spaces and trees on some routes and property owners are being contacted individually by the NTA.

A three-phase public consultation started for four of the routes in November; the second phase will start in January and the third in February.  

It is part of an overall BusConnects plan - which also includes a redesign of the network -  to cut journey times by up to 50%.

Ms Graham said that bus services in the capital are the "main component" to address the problems of increasing traffic levels in a low density city.

She said that Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann commuter services carry double the number of passengers as Luas, DART and commuter rail services combined.

BusConnects also has plans for a cashless payment system, a simpler fare structure, park and ride facilities, new bus stops and a new fleet with lower emissions.