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Tourists sent on wild goose chase

PEOPLE are being sent the long way round by a new online route planner from the State's transport authority.

The planner, launched yesterday, will result in confusion for tourists as it fails to offer the most direct route to some of the capital's tourist spots.

In one glaring example, the €1.1m system offers the option of taking a taxi to get from Grafton Street to Trinity College, which takes five minutes but involves driving for more than 2km and costs about €10.

The journey by foot to the main gate at College Green is less than five minutes -- but the planner advises walking around to a side gate on Pearse Street, a trip which takes 13 minutes.


The National Transport Authority (NTA) admitted the system was experiencing teething problems, but insisted that it would improve over time.

Around 9,600 bus stops across the country, 750 different routes, 152 train stations and route and timetable information from 120 different transport providers were used to help people plan their journeys.

"It refines and enriches over time," project manager Peter Cranny said. "The basic system is a car routing map system and it, for example, doesn't allow vehicles, including a bus or taxi, to turn left from Dawson Street on to Nassau Street because it knows that's banned for cars.

"We had to update the system to allow buses and cyclists to turn left, and had to do that kind of tweaking right across the city. We would have made somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 changes so far. Even today (Wednesday), we made four changes and three may be added.

"It's down to people having a good bit of local knowledge. This will be updated all the time and we have three people who are just working on the feedback."

The system, which is available at www.transportforireland.ie and on a smartphone app, covers bus, rail, tram, taxis, ferries and walking and provides fully mapped-out route information, printable timetables and details of overall journey times.

Irish Independent