Plan to open bus lanes hits red light

Cormac Murphy

A PLAN to allow Dublin motorists to use bus lanes on public holidays has been rejected over fears it would cause traffic jams.

While the practice is common in other European cities, city chiefs believe it might lead to increased congestion during major events like the Dublin marathon.

The majority of bus lanes are in operation between 7am and 7pm from Monday to Saturday.

Independent councillor Christy Burke proposed allowing the exemption on Sundays – when motorists are allowed use the routes – to be extended to bank holidays.


But city official Declan Wallace said they "don't actually think it would be very wise", though it is an option open to the local authority.

"Every lane would have a new sign put up which adds to the confusion," he told councillors.

A lot of the major events take place on bank holidays – like the marathon and the St Patrick's Day parade – when "you do need bus lanes to get people in and out of the city", he said.

Fine Gael councillor Kieran Binchy said he already "presumed you were allowed drive in bus lanes on bank holidays", adding: "I think it makes eminent sense that bus lanes be open to the public on Sunday."

But cycling groups are against the proposal, with Derek Peppard of the Dublin Cycling Campaign saying there is "no way" it should happen.

Taxi representative Gerry Macken, who works out of Dublin Airport, said taxis can't get down the lanes bringing customers into or out of the city centre when a match is on in Croke Park.

"I think the time should be extended out in the evenings as well because coming out to and from the airport is a nightmare for public transport and taxis," Mr Macken told the council's transport committee.