Bus Priority Scheme on College Green.

Introduced on 27th July 2009; it was suspended for Christmas as a result of intensive lobbying from City Centre traders who considered it a significant factor in the downturn in businesses. Evening and Saturday business had gone down and there were noticeably fewer tourists. Declines in business were said to be 5% to 26% in Quarter 1 (Jan to March), 7% to 23% in Q2, August 10% to 29% and September 10% to 25%. The high cost of car parking was held to be a major impediment to customers with free parking in suburban centres. Busgate reduced car traffic by 23%. There was a big increase in cycling (up 25% to 60%). Pedestrian traffic was down -4.4% to -7.7% in evening and morning peaks but increased by +6% in the peak retail period. Bus numbers declined in line with Dublin Bus’s fleet reduction. The travel times by buses reduced by 3 to 14 minutes per bus through that bottleneck at different times of the day.

Bus boardings in peak times across the city were down overall by 14 to 15% and in the late evening by -21%. However in the Busgate area these figures were -3 to -2 % at peak and in late evening -10%.

Taxi numbers were increased by 10%

Drury Street Car park data showed no discernable reduction with Busgate.

The opening of the Macken Street bridge in December has changed traffic patterns and a planned review of the impact of the whole project will be done in May 2010 when the City Council will review its utility and relative costs and benefits.

Meanwhile, it is most likely that the downturn in trade is due primarily to the collapse in consumer spending in the recession. There needs to be downward rent reviews in the City Centre otherwise there will be lots of “For Rent” signs in our overpriced premier streets.