'Bus gate' opens for evening traffic

Restrictions for the new Dublin city centre bus corridor began again at 4pm with evening rush hour traffic reported to be busy…

Restrictions for the new Dublin city centre bus corridor began again at 4pm with evening rush hour traffic reported to be busy so far.

The bus gate came

into effect this morning and operates between the hours of 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm Monday to Friday, restricting access to public transport vehicles and bicycles.

AA Roadwatch reported delays inbound from Clanbrassil St to Christchurch, which is one of the alternative routes for cars. However Dame Street is "quite empty" as a result of the new bus corridor, AA Roadwatch said.

The traffic watchdog said a combination of traffic heading to U2 in Croke Park and the new bus corridor was resulting in heavy delays inbound from Con Colbert Road to the north quays all way to O'Connell Bridge.

Parkgate Street was slow and Pearse Sreet had a tailback to the Macken Street junction.

This morning the new bus gate caused no major traffic delays.

A Dublin Bus spokeswoman said she was "very happy" with the first day of the scheme. The company will monitor the impact of the new corridor this evening and hopes it will be just as successful, she said.

“Motorists seem to be taking heed and gardaí are diverting them,” a spokeswoman for AA Roadwatch said. Extra gardaí were on duty at junctions this morning and encountered few problems.

There were no major problems on alternative routes this morning, AA Roadwatch said. Private and commercial vehicles that usually travel on the road - either between Dame Street to Westmoreland Street or from College Street to Dame Street or Nassau Street - must find alternative routes.

Motorists approaching the area from Dame Street will have to make a U-turn at the taxi rank outside the Bank of Ireland while those approaching from D’Olier Street will be redirected up Westmoreland Street towards O’Connell Bridge.

Motorists who drive through the corridor during peak times face a €60 fine increasing to €90 if not paid within 28 days. Gardaí will exercise “discretion and caution” for the first three days.

Extra gardaí are on duty in College Green this evening. U2 concert-goers are advised to avoid College Green as they make their way to Croke Park.

Private bus operators have welcomed the new bus corridor which they say is long overdue.

“The new system around College Green will be like the smoking ban: strange at first, but soon we’ll wonder how we ever managed before it, ” said Gerry Mullins of the Coach Tourism and Transport Council.

Dublin Bus has earmarked a city centre zone from Parnell Square to St Stephen’s Green, and from Connolly Station to Parliament Street where fares will be 50 cent.

The AA has listed alternative routes across the Liffey, which may be useful for concert-goers. They include: East Link, East Wall, Tara St, Winetavern St (Christchurch), Bridge St, Church St Bridge, James Joyce Bridge and St John’s Rd (Heuston Station).

The council says the move will ease the flow of public transport through one of the major bottlenecks in the Dublin traffic network.

Full access to car parks will be retained during these periods and there will be no change to traffic arrangements outside of these times.

To see maps and alternative routes visit www.transportfordublin.ie