Businesses in Dublin claim that College Green traffic restrictions are causing a loss in trade.
The College Green bus gate bans all traffic apart from buses, taxis and bicycles travelling though the area on weekdays during morning and evening rush hours. Private motorists found driving through College Green at these times face a 60 euro fine.
According to business leaders, the traffic restrictions have caused a disproportionate loss of trade. Late night shopping on Thursdays has been badly hit with the car park at Brown Thomas recording a 75% reduction on one Thursday evening.
David McCormick of the Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) says for businesses on the cusp of viability,
We feel that this measure might be just the straw that breaks the camel’s back that will lead to closures.
With the restrictions in place, Dublin Bus say reductions of up to 14 minutes have been recorded on some routes. As a result of the bus gate, they will save three million euro a year. However a spokesperson for Brown Thomas said they could lose that amount in six months.
Dublin City Council has no plan to suspend the car ban, but will review of the system when it has been six months in operation.
Dublin City Council's director of traffic Brendan O'Brien says the local authority is willing to sit down with members of the business community,
To see if there is any particular areas that they want us to concentrate on, perhaps more signage, communications or whatever.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 4 September 2009. The reporter is John Kilraine.