Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Questions (583)

Finian McGrath

Question:

583. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on correspondence regarding bus lanes and limousine operators (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5044/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The question of whether limousines should be allowed to use bus lanes has been previously raised on numerous occasions. My predecessors and I have consistently rejected the proposal, as bus lanes were created at some considerable expense, to provide on-street priority for bus-based public transport.  The function of the lanes is to ensure that buses will be quicker and more reliable, thereby attracting more people out of their cars and onto public transport.  Bicycles are also permitted to use with-flow bus lanes, as they are inherently vulnerable road users, and considered safer in bus lanes.  For obvious reasons, the law also allows the emergency services to avail of the lanes.

When bus lanes were first introduced, taxis were not permitted to use them.  However, it was eventually agreed that they could, given that they are available for on-street hire.  Limousines differ in that they are not available for on-street hire. 

There have been many requests over the years to allow other categories of vehicle to use bus lanes.  These include requests for hackneys, multi-occupancy cars, electric vehicles, animal ambulances, and motor cycles, as well as limousines.  However, the view has consistently taken when considering such requests that any extension of access to bus lanes for other categories of vehicle would undermine the efficiency of the lanes and therefore undermine the purpose for which they were created.