Dublin traffic restrictions shave 40% off bus journey times
NEW traffic restrictions in central Dublin have cut bus journey times on some routes by 40 per cent.
While the closure of a right turn off the north quays on to O'Connell Bridge is yet to make it on to Google Maps, improved public transport was being heralded on the first weekday of the changes.
Cars have been banned from driving from Bachelors Walk over the Liffey since Sunday morning.
General traffic has been cut to one lane from Ormond Quay to Eden Quay on the north side and from Burgh Quay to Essex Quay on the south side to accommodate more bus lanes.
Dublin Bus said there was a 40 per cent drop in journey times of 30 services running along Bachelors Walk between 8am and 9am.
"We had a good experience on all our services. We received feedback from drivers and consumers about improved journey times and from the drivers that there was a high level of compliance," a spokeswoman said.
Heavy and persistent rain was said to have a played a part in traffic jams across Dublin.
The ban on cars going from north to south from Bachelors Walk is being introduced to avoid the potential for Cross City Luas trams being blocked as they travel across the Liffey from December.
But with the new regime being introduced while schools are closed, the courts are on vacation and with many businesses and offices seeing a lot of staff on holidays the true test will not come until next month.
Conor Faughnan, AA director of consumer affairs, said: "The reason is a good one. Luas is a great asset for the city.
"But what's happening to the displaced traffic? If you are moving cars out you might congratulate yourself but if you are moving people out you have to question that.
"There have to be better measures of success than how fast a bus is moving."
Buses, taxis and bicycles can cross the Liffey on O'Connell Bridge.
New bus priority traffic signals are in place on Bachelors Walk approximately 100 metres before the turn.
Gerry Farrell, director of operations at DublinTown business association, said there has been mixed feedback about the changes.
"We're not really going to know how significant the impact is until a couple of weeks," he said.
"August is one of the quieter times of the year. It might be a different story in September when schools are back and people are back from annual leave and there are more volumes of traffic."
City council figures show about 150 motorists an hour used to turn right from Bachelors Walk to O'Connell Bridge at peak times compared with several thousand people on buses.
Cars can continue to cross the Liffey in central Dublin on Watling Street Bridge, Fr Mathew Bridge at Church Street, Talbot Memorial Bridge and Samuel Beckett Bridge.