Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Motorists fume stuck beside empty unused bus corridors

SO MANY bus corridors, so few buses.

Over a dozen bus lanes and quality bus corridors in Dublin are finished and ready for use - but there are no buses to serve them.

Yesterday, it emerged that 13 bus lanes had been completed, but that a shortage of buses means they are not being used and motorists are being forced to sit in long tailbacks each day in single-lane traffic.

They include a two-kilometre 24-hour lane on one of the most heavily-congested roads in the capital - the N32 from the M50 junction to the Malahide Road - which has not been commissioned despite being finished two years ago.

Another QBC on the Rock Road linking the city centre to Blackrock is unused, and is not set to open until mid-summer.

The dedicated bus lanes which are finished, but not yet open for business, include the Pennyhill to Ballyowen Road in Clondalkin; Belgard Road; Leopardstown Road to Sandyford; Kingswood north to Ballyowen; Hole in the Wall to the north fringe, Clongriffin; Ongar Road, Dublin 15; Cherrywood Road; Enniskerry to Dundrum; Exit of Sandyford Industrial Estate to the Sandyford Road; Blackthorn Drive to Sandyford and another at Wyckham Way.

They are not being used because of the shortage of buses available to Dublin Bus and because of a spat between the Fianna Fail and Progressive Democrats government over opening new routes to private operators. Local authorities also required developers to install bus lanes when they received planning permission to build new homes, but many of these are unused.


Dublin Bus said it expects to have more services operating later in the summer when 100 new buses go into service.

"We have half the 100 buses in place and by the end of the summer we should have them all in place," a spokesman said. "There would be a relatively limited number of sections unused."

The Dublin Transportation Office said that most bus lanes did not take away road space available to private motorists, and that there was an "overall plan" to roll-out more dedicated bus lanes.

"The Leopardstown Road to Sandyford lane is in place but not yet fully utilised. The QBC has been there for some time but is waiting for bus routes. A decision was taken not to wait until the physical buses were in place.

"There is an overall plan, but there will be some gaps in the service until buses come on stream."

But south Dublin residents could find themselves with a headache when the Rock Road QBC opens later this summer because one lane previously available to cars will be gone.

"The Rock Road QBC is a contentious scheme because there's less road space," a spokesman for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council said.

"That will be open after the Leaving Cert but it's been in a state of readiness for the last two or three months. Dublin Bus has said it will reorganise its number four route which will justify opening it, but it's likely to be quite difficult for people when the full force of traffic returns in September."

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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