I was supposed to be discussing the possibility of a car scrappage scheme. As it happened, I was stuck in the boardroom of Buswell's Hotel across the road from Leinster House with a bunch of car dealers. (Is 'clutch' the collective noun?) I came out and there was 11 missed calls and 7 new messages on the phone. I had missed the interview. I did get a chance to talk about it on Q102 later on, and while not quite going as far as George Monbiot, I did say that a car scrappage scheme did not make sense. I don't believe that we should be putting scarce resources into the non-productive economy.
If money is scarce, let's use it to build Metro North. Each individual station on that line would be in the top ten list of building sites in the State. The project would generate thousands of jobs in construction, and would lower our carbon footprint and create many jobs during operation. Dublin needs a high capacity north-south public transport backbone. It could even continue south as far as Bray via the Luas green line.
Meanwhile on the subject of improving public transport, it's about time that we gave buses the priority that they deserve through the centre of Dublin. It's not fair that buses get stuck behind SUVs heading for the Brown Thomas Car park. If we want buses that keep to a schedule we've got to ensure that they don't get snarled up in traffic in College Green behind these kind of lines of cars. Currently it can 40 minutes or 10 minutes for a 46A to get from Parnell Square to Stephen's Green. No wonder people says buses aren't reliable.
The info on the bus gate is here on Dublin City Council's site, but you've missed the consultation period which ended last Friday. Here's the Green Party's PR on the matter. I'll get around to putting our submission on line soon.
I had a chat with Fergus O'Dowd Fine Gael's Transport Spokesperson today and he agreed with me. I was on radio yesterday with his colleague Cllr. Paddy McCartan who sits on Dublin City Council and unfortunately he doesn't want to take the cars out of College Green. While I was on radion I had a sense of deja-vu, and then I remembered. I had heard the same arguments about taking cars out of Grafton Street 25 years ago. Scary.
Conor Faughnan has also been discussing the issue, and he's taking the same line as he did with the Stillorgan QBC a decade ago: in favour in theory, but not in practice. Back then even the Chartered Institute of Transport had to tap the AA on the shoulder and politely point out to them the error of their ways. The SIMI wasn't exactly on the side of the angels either, back then, opposing it I suspect in theory, as well as in practice. I actually agree with a lot of what the AA is saying: YES, we need a radical reform of Dublin Bus routes, YES , we need decent cycling lanes as well, but I'm always a bit nervous when the perfect becomes the enemy of the good.
Plus ca change. Tom Coffey from Dublin City Business has a large wish-list of things that have to happen before the bus gate proceeds:
at Samuel Beckett Bridge Macken Streetis in place and operational
- Bridge at
Hawkins Streetis in place and operational
- Real-time passenger information on all QBCs is in place and operational
- Electronic signposting to all 22 car parks in
CBDfor shoppers is in place and operational
- Oral Hearing on Metro North in An Bord Pleanála heard and all appeals to the Courts in
and EU heard and a final judgement issued. Ireland
Sometimes you'd tear your hair out.
Tom, people in buses buy things as well.
We'll see how these things pan out. It'll be up to Dublin City Council to make a final decision in a few weeks on the issue.