Re: Re: college green/ o’connell street plaza and pedestrians
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Just to return to the buses briefly, there are too many buses in College Green as it stands, regardless if the LUAS is on it’s way there too.
It would be an interesting project to ascertain the frequency and loadings of the existing cross city buses, in particular relating to the boarding / alighting at each city centre bus stop for each route. I am absolutely convinced of the sheer inefficiency of the existing city network, regardless of any plans to eliminate some buses. Buses dwell far too long at bus stops, take far too long to traverse the city centre, and cause congestion no moreso than to themselves, with buses queuing for access to hopelessly inadequate stops, disgorging passengers onto the roadway, and blocking two lanes of some streets. There must be a huge loss of business to buses simply through the sheer amount of time lost and disruption to potential customers, not to mention the excess of vehicles needed to cover the fact that too many buses sit stationary for too long in the resultant traffic jams.
Buses arriving into the city to terminate a journey, should turn around, load up quickly at an adequately designed and efficient loading place, and get the hell out of the city as quick as possible. Buses crossing the city should have a minimum of bus stops, and spend no longer than absolutely necessary to load and unload, using two or three exit doors, with no delay allowed at all for fare collection. Bus operators, of any company, should be penalised for holding up traffic for revenue collection purposes.
The older Dublin Bus fleet of step entrance buses, which are now obsolete, and being replaced over a period of a few years, were ideal for cross city work, with two access doors, and a shorter length and wheelbase for greater manoeuvreability. Admittedly they have no wheelchair access, but replacement vehicles should be of short length, with wheelchair access and two doors, similar to the London model.
The later style of bus, from 2000 onwards, has wheelchair access, but only one entrance / exit door. These buses, with their higher seating capacity but slower access, are more suited to the main express corridors out of the city, and not on cross city routes with a high passenger turnover on the city centre streets.
Three axle double deckers as found on the 46A route, are again suitable for express routes out of the city, but not for cross city work. There is no place for articulated buses, as London has found to it’s cost.
With those basic facts taken on board, five types of bus route can be visualised, with different vehicle types sourced for each particular type of work.
1) Cross city routes, like route 10, which require a bus with multiple access doors, short length, on a minimum of chosen routes. There are too many cross city routes at present. There needs to be less routes, and diverted to use streets such as Capel Street, Jervis Street, Gardiner Street, away from the College Green bottleneck. There are a number of options to do this.
2) High capacity express routes out of the city, like 46A, which should have one specified main loading point, and perhaps just one or two other points within the canal cordon, and which should load instantly and leave the city promptly, with no laying over in the city centre.
3) Local services outside the city, and outside the scope of this thread.
4) Dublin City guided tours, which I feel do need limited access to the O’Connell Street / College Green area. These buses should be permitted to traverse the city centre slowly, on tour, but should be precluded from parking on the streetside, or basing themselves there to sell tickets. Limited stopping would be provided, for loading / alighting only, perhaps on Nassau Street, or D’Olier Street, which would see all the other bus services removed.
5) I would like to see a kind of sponsored mobility service retained in O’Connell Street, perhaps operated by electric single deck standee buses, with minimal seating, which would not be so intrusive to the city infrastructure, and could provide in their own right a talking point for the city, green electric buses, putting Dublin to the forefront in investigating progressive ways of moving people. These buses would work entirely within the canal cordon, and would provide a link to the other bus routes removed from O’Connell Street / College Green, and indeed the railway stations. It would be nice if these buses were free of charge to use, or else worked on some kind of ‘Oyster’ card system. I know we don’t like doing ‘freebies’ in Dublin, but there are other ways of doing business and getting the city moving besides always grasping for the greasy coins!
I see areas like Parnell Square, one side of St. Stephen’s Green, Lower Merrion Street, and parts of the Quays as being suitable hubs for the buses. Streets like Lower Merrion Street and Parnell Square given over exclusively to buses, with the buses nose to kerb at a 45 degree angle, allowing for a three or fourfold increase in bus stop capacity. Buses would reverse out under the eye of a stance inspector. These bus stop hubs would be managed day and night by independent bus inspectors employed by the DTA, and would serve as interchanges between routes, as well as keeping buses away from having to stop on other more congested streets. Buses serving these stops would have limited stops elsewhere, and would wait only for a specified departure time, or the word of a stance inspector. There would be no parking of buses, and no delays due to archaic revenue collection methods.
Perhaps it is time for Dublin City Council to consider charging bus operators for access to the city, based on time spent inside the canal cordon, and use of stopping facilities. In return, the council would be obliged to provide much more efficient priority for buses, and adequate consideration and assistance with proper loading and alighting facilities. I would see somewhere like Summerhill Garage or Donnybrook Garage given over in part towards an open bus facility for service buses and for private and touring coaches, with maintenance, washing, canteen, sleeping for drivers, etc. All charged on a reasonable basis, providing much needed facilities for coach drivers in particular, and getting buses and coaches off the side of the street.
I see buses moving swiftly around the city, making less stops, stopping to load and unload, preferably using more doors, and not waiting for inefficient fare collection methods. Given that huge move towards greater efficiency, I see bus operators being rewarded with far more priority at junctions, enabling those buses to get out of the city quicker, which is the whole point of the exercise. Quicker buses equals less buses. Operators too, would save by requiring far less vehicles to cover schedules than they presently do, with greater availability of vehicles for greater capacity.
It’s a win win situation all round, and frees up the city centre environment for more pedestrianisation and more efficient throughput of people.