Fianna Fáil has obtained information this month that reveals that the coach parking facility on Sheriff Street, Dublin 1 has been so poorly used it has cost almost €900 per use since it opened it January of this year.
Commenting on the matter, the party’s Dublin Spokesperson, John Lahart TD said, “As the rate of tourism in our Capital has continued to steadily increase, so too has the number of coaches on our roads in and around the city centre.
“In order to alleviate this congestion and to clamp down on privately owned coaches parking on streets, a coach parking facility was opened on Sheriff Street. This facility cost a substantial €1.7 million to construct.
“The information received by my party has exposed some pretty stark details. In the 280 odd days it has been operational, there have been on average just 7 coaches using it per day. This is shocking considering the peak tourist season has just concluded. It’s fair to assume that this should have been a busy period for the facility.
“On nine of the thirty-nine weeks so far this year, two or fewer coaches used the facility. That means that it has cost in the region of €900 per use.
“The privately run coaches that should be encouraged to avail of the facility tend to transport those on holiday tours, day trips or attending concerts/events. Therefore they require parking in the city centre at weekends, very early in the morning, late at night or overnight. Opening the facility Monday-Friday 7am-7pm is just not viable.
“A number of coach drivers have raised complaints about its location and the difficulty in accessing it. You’d have to also wonder if private coach drivers are even aware it’s there in the first instance.
“Many are questioning whether this money should have been spent on improving cycling infrastructure rather than an underused parking facility. The fact of the matter is, there is such low level of investment in cycling projects in the city. The existing cycling infrastructure is crumbling yet the Local Authority and the NTA could find €1.7 million to build this facility and a large pot of funds to keep it operating.
“The facility has a purpose; it has the potential to help alleviate congestion but this is severely hampered by its restrictive opening hours. I have written to the National Transport Authority to review this and make it more accessible for coaches,” he concluded.