A journey undertaken on routes 39 and 39A on the 6th May 2015.
After covering the descendents of two City Swift routes (13 and 25A) it made sense to go back to the original route that started this new concept in 1993 - route 39. This was also numerically the first bus route started by the DUTC but not the actual first bus route started by them. Finally the 39 and 39A provide the opportunity to do the annual visit to Blanchardstown.
Like with the 25A, the 39 is now a shadow of itself from City Swift days. In 1993 City Swift turned the 39 into a route that had departures every 6 minutes. Today it is every 30 minutes. The main frequency on the corridor is provided by the 39A which runs every 10 minutes. It started in 2010 under Network Direct and was used to replace the 10 on the southside of Dublin city between UCD Belfield and the City Centre. The 39 terminates on Burlington Road just off Baggot Street/Waterloo Road. Both routes use the N3 Navan Road to the M50 interchange. The 39A continues on to the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. The 39 also reaches there but goes via Blanchardstown village and Coolmine. Both routes do the loop around Huntsown and Hartsown. The 39 continues on through Clonsilla to reach the Ongar loop while the 39A takes the short cut that is the Ongar Distributor Road. After doing the loop around Ongar the two routes terminate near the new railway station at Hansfield. Like with the 25A, both routes have developed over the last thirty years to serve the new housing developments of West Dublin. In fact parts of Ongar are built right up to the Dublin/Meath border. There are not many routes like the 39/A that get close to the county boundary without crossing it.
Both routes are operated by Phibsborough Garage. Due to the high demand on the routes at both ends (especially on the 39A) the tri-axle VTs are a common class of bus allocated to them. However other types can and do appear on them. On one of the days I was out photographing the routes I managed to see AV 26 on the 39A. At the time this was the oldest active AV in the Dublin Bus passenger fleet. I travelled on the third oldest on the 39A, AV48. On 20th June I travelled on AX 572 on th 39.
Both routes are worth exploring especially as they provide the opportunity to compare a direct route with one that diverges to serve more communities. They are also routes where you come close to passing the terminus at Ongar about ten minutes before the busreachesit.