Plans for a bus service for Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo are delayed further as transport and park authorities differ on how to get vehicles through the park’s narrow gates.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) wants the Office of Public Works (OPW) to widen the historic Cabra gates to let standard buses in but the OPW is refusing to alter the protected structures.
The OPW insists an alternative solution be found but the NTA has no narrow buses in its fleet and the few models on the market are single decker with limited seating.
Visitors to Phoenix Park were promised last year that they could soon look forward to a bus service running between Heuston Station and Cabra, via the Phoenix Park visitor centre and the zoo.
It emerged last March, however, that the idea was devised while the landmark Cabra gates and other historic gates around the park, had been removed for refurbishment.
When reinstalled, it quickly become evident that any standard bus would find it a tight squeeze to get through the narrowed entrance and after trials last October, the NTA decided it was too tight.
The bus got through but with only a tiny clearance for its mirrors.
The trial was conducted with a bus from Go Ahead, the company that runs routes serving the greater Dublin area.
It runs the 145 service between Bray and Heuston Station and the proposal had been to extend its route to Cabra via the park.
An NTA spokesperson said it still intended providing the bus service but would not specify how or when.
“NTA is continuing to engage with the OPW and the Department of Transport to look at options for the provision of a bus service in the Phoenix Park,” the spokesperson said.
The OPW also said the promised service would materialise but was equally short of detail.
“The NTA and the OPW are progressing with plans to operate a public bus service between the Phoenix Park and local transport hubs,” it said.
“The bus route will include a number of stopping points in the Phoenix Park, including the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre and Dublin Zoo.”
It added, however: “As with all gates to the Phoenix Park, the Cabra gate is a protected structure and there are no plans to alter the gate width or adjoining structures.”