Dublin City Council shoots down suggestion of EVs in bus lanes

4 Nov 2019

Image: © kevers/Stock.adobe.com

Dublin City Council has shot down any suggestion that EVs could use bus lanes, saying they are ‘already at capacity’.

Any suggestion by the Government that electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid cars could be allowed use bus lanes during peak times has been strongly rejected by Dublin City Council. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently said discussions were underway to follow the lead of major EV adopters such as Norway and allow cleaner emission cars to use the lanes.

According to The Irish Times, a spokesperson for the council’s environment and transport department said it would be “opposed to any changes in regulations to allow this to happen”.

“The bus lanes are currently at capacity and the current legal presence of small public service vehicles is causing delays and disruptions to bus services, adding any more vehicles in the bus lanes would not facilitate public transport and bus operations,” the spokesperson said.

Prior to these comments, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD, said that the plan would likely create problems for the Government’s BusConnects plans.

‘Just defies logic’

Fianna Fáil has also criticised the Government proposal, with the party’s Dublin spokesperson John Lahart saying it was “surprising” given the Government’s “commitment to BusConnects; to reducing congestion in Dublin and to proposing greater use of public transport” and that it should rather focus on rolling out more public charging points.

Lahart added: “The idea of filling up our bus lanes into the city with cars just defies logic. There is no mention of cycling or e-cycling in the Government’s Climate Action Plan and they have put all their eggs in the basket of e-cars. I have no idea why the Taoiseach would propose the use of bus lanes by e-cars.”

The Government has set a target to have 1m EVs on Irish roads by 2030 under the Climate Action plan, by which time the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars will be prohibited. By 2045, no ICE car will be eligible for NCT certification, effectively banning these cars from Irish roads.

However, the number of EVs on Irish roads represents just a small percentage of overall vehicle numbers, currently amounting to around 12,500. In addition to VRT relief and grants, the Government is now looking at ways to encourage more people to make the switch to zero- or low-emission vehicles.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic