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Urban studies (Planning and development), Transport planning and social aspects of transport
criticised. The problem was resolved in part by relocating bus termini, mainly to other edge-of-centre on-street locations. These included certain protected heritage environments such as Merrion Square. Objections have been raised by prominent heritage interest groups, notably the Irish Georgian Society. The use of such locations has been justified by state bus agencies on grounds of cost, expediency and lack of viable alternatives. This study, prepared as part of a DIT Community-Links initiative with the Irish Georgian Society, investigates the potential for an alternative, viable and sustainable bus layover strategy for Dublin city centre. The study considers the wider social, cultural and environmental costs of bus layover in protected heritage environments. It also examines the relevance and role of planning in the coordination of bus operations in the city centre. The analysis takes due consideration of best practice in bus layover operations, including: layover design and operations, linkages and street design. The research team carried out surveys of layover operations at Merrion Square. The highest number of buses in layover at any one time was 9 and the average was 5. On average, buses were in layover for 10, 22 and 14 minutes during the morning, afternoon and evening survey periods. For private services this tended to be significantly longer, often an hour or more. Relatively few passengers alighted or embarked at the terminus. The design of the layover space is highly inadequate and the presence of buses on the Square creates a foreboding atmosphere, materially detracting from its potential UNESCO World Heritage Status. Contact with transport agencies suggested that from an operations point of view the arrangement was acceptable, also that no viable alternatives was seen to exist. The team looked at international best practice and investigated five potential layover solutions, including: the status quo; an alternative site close-by; a single city centre layover site; removing the terminus by implementing 100% cross-city services; and, the use of Dublin Bus garages for layover. A multi-criteria analysis concluded that the use of Dublin Bus garages for layover was the clear and most suitable option. The study recommends, in the case of the Merrion Square services, that terminus and layover operations be relocated to the most proximate garage, in this case the Ringsend Depot on Ringsend Road. This can best be achieved by rerouting the end-of-service from Merrion Square to Docklands, via Pearse Street. It is likely that this would yield fuel savings, in addition to significant increased patronage. Congestion through the College Green Bus Gate would be relieved, in turn improving LUAS Cross-City operations. Greater connectivity would be achieved from Maynooth and the western suburbs to Docklands, a significant centre of employment. Proper rest facilities would be available to drivers. The use of Dublin’s Georgian Squares for bus layover is untenable bad practice, without comparison in other heritage cities. A viable alternative exists which can increase revenue, improve operations and lead to a more efficient overall public transport network.
O'Connor, David. Alternatives to the Use of Heritage Squares in Dublin City Centre, Proceedings of the Irish Transport Research Network, 2015 doi:10.21427/872k-mm17