Motorists won't be allowed use bus lanes during Dublin Bus strike
Thursday and Friday promises to bring traffic mayhem to the capital but motorists won't get a chance to use the bus lanes, despite the Dublin Bus strike.
Minister for Transport Shane Ross is quoted in the Irish Times as saying that they had looked at the 'bus lane issue' but he had been advised that allowing private motorists to use the bus lanes would have been illegal.
The gardai have also released a statement to confirm that motorists are not allowed bus lanes during the industrial action.
The statement reads: 'Dublin Bus have announced that due to industrial action, services will cease operating at 9pm tonight, Wednesday 7th September for a 48 hour period. During this period, bus lanes will operate as normal.
Although Dublin Bus services will not be operating during this time, bus lanes will continue to be used by other public service vehicles, emergency service vehicles and cyclists. An Garda Síochána therefore, wish to remind motorists that all bus lanes will operate as normal during operating times.
An Garda Siochána recognise that the public will face difficulties therefore commuters are encouraged to plan ahead and identify alternatives forms of (public) transport on the day. Traffic is expected to be extremely heavy on commuter routes, especially during morning and evening peaks.
There will be an increase in the number of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians on the roads. An Garda Síochána appeal to all road users to take extra care on their journey.'
The folks at AARoadwatch also warned motorists that Thursday and Friday are not free from the normal rules of the road.
BUS STRIKES: Motorists will NOT be permitted to use the bus lanes tomorrow & Friday. https://t.co/qvBPcgxUj8— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) September 7, 2016
During the last bus striek in 2013, then Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar also rejected calls for private motorists to use the largely empty lane.
Without buses, only Bus Eireann, private buses, taxis, emergency vehicles and cyclists will be able to use the bus lanes.
The strike will begin to affect commuters from 9pm tonight as routes begin to go off in preparation for the 48-hour stoppage.
In one bit of good news, Dublin Bus passengers with monthly or annual tickets will be refunded for each day of industrial action, it has been confirmed.
Passengers will be relieved to know they will be refunded - however, they will be unable to claim their refunds until after all strike action have come to an end.
Dublin Bus have advised Independent.ie that anybody who wishes to seek a refund must go into their Head Office at 59 Upper O'Connell Street - but not until after the dispute has been resolved.
Annual and monthly tickets cannot be used on any other form of transport, such as the Luas or Dart, during the strike action.
Refunds will not be made available to customers with 5-day and 30-day rambler tickets as they can be used outside the calendar month.
The dispute over pay will see four more days of strike action on Thursday September 15, Friday September 16, Friday September 23 and Saturday September 24.
At issue is a 15pc pay hike over three years sought by Dublin Bus drivers to bring them into line with the salary of Luas drivers.
However, Dublin Bus said it simply can't afford the pay hikes and met with unions last Friday to "get clarity and see if there was a way to avert industrial action" after the unions rejected a recommendation by the Labour Court of an 8.2pc pay increase over three years.
"We can't afford to pay above the Labour Court recommendation," the spokeswoman said.