The Green Party has struggled in recent years to remain politically relevant, but it deserves credit for one of the best public transport suggestions from any party in recent times.
A missive yesterday from its transport spokesman Tom Kivlehan contained an innovative idea to better utilise Dublin city's public bus infrastructure, while also helping to solve part of the city's traffic chaos. It went something like this . . .
Dublin’s Busáras, which is reserved for State operators, is on the east side of the inner city, yet much coach traffic into Dublin comes in from the west and southwest.
Bus Éireann buses arriving into the western side of the city must crawl towards their drop-off point in the Busáras along the city’s quays, snarling up traffic.
In the meantime, private coach operators, from wherever they arrive, end up congregating on city’s squares and all along the Liffey, causing further bottlenecks and inconvenience.
The Greens have cleverly suggested a new bus station could be opened on the west side of the city in the Dublin Bus facility on Conyngham Road, near Heuston station. Local city buses could be shifted to run from nearby Broadstone, freeing up the Conyngham site.
The hordes of buses coming into the city daily from the west and southwest could finish at this new bus station, removing the need for their pointless crawl up the quays.
This would free up some capacity at the cramped Busáras, which could be opened up for use to private bus operators, who would no longer have to clog up city squares. Arrivals on the western side of the city would be a two-minute walk from the Luas Red Line, so access to the city centre would still be relatively simple. Traffic on the quays would be more manageable, and the sites required are all already in public ownership.
Much of the debate around the city’s transport infrastructure is taken up with grand plans, such as a proposed effective city centre car ban, and the seemingly endless works taking place for the Luas.
From the Greens we have a cheap, clever and easy-to-implement suggestion that would have an immediate impact on the city's traffic management. Is anybody at Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority listening?