No green light to use bus lanes on bank holidays
Dublin City Council says ‘no need’ to open bus lanes to motorists on bank holidays
A proposal to open bus lanes in the capital to motorists on bank holidays has been rejected by Dublin City Council.
The council’s Transport and Traffic Strategic Policy Committee rejected the idea at its most recent meeting. Declan Wallace, Dublin City Council executive manager, told the committee he saw “no need for it”.
Drivers did not tend to use bus lanes on Sundays, even though legally they are entitled to do so, due to the habit of not using them between Monday and Saturday, he said.
Mr Wallace said many major events such as the Dublin City Marathon and St Patrick’s Day were held on Bank Holidays or public holidays when the bus lanes provided important access to the city centre. He added the council had not received a groundswell of communications asking for the bus lanes to be opened.
Any change would require new signage on all the bus lanes, which might cause confusion for drivers, he concluded.
However,Fine Gael councillor Kieran Binchy disagreed and said he was not convinced by the arguments put forward by the council. Opening the bus lanes made “eminent sense” because the level of public transport provision was so low on Bank Holidays.
The same rationale that applied to opening bus lanes on Sundays should be applied to bank holidays, he said.
Mr Binchy added he drove in bus lanes on Bank Holidays because he had presumed it was legal to do so. “The patterns of traffic movement are very different to a normal weekday and for that same reason they [bus lanes] should be open to the public on a Bank Holiday”.
Derek Peppard, who sits on the committee on behalf of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, said opening the bus lanes would be a retrograde step and suggested that they should instead be closed to general traffic on Sundays.
James Leahy, representing a number of environmental groups, agreed access to bus lanes on Sundays should be reconsidered because it appeared the thinking had “far less to do with driving in them and more to do with parking in them”.