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Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,249 ✭✭✭cgcsb

    Looks like crayola to me. These documents are largely works of fiction. Dublins one is no different to the previous one. All plans seem to remain plans

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,685 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    I don't understand why double-tracking to LJ is a given in rail scenarios, what does it actually achieve? There is no commuter potential on the line, will it carry any more than a few trains in each direction per hour? There are already two tracks on the Limerick end, surely a well placed passing loop would suffice for the number of trains for a very long time. The cost is substantial and for very little benefit, meanwhile the two suggested stations add little also.

    It would be interesting to know how they came up with these rail options, maybe I'm being cynical but they seem to have been selected to fail. A bus and rail P&R at the M7 would be something which might actually reduce traffic into the city. On the Ennis line, a P&R at Cratloe might work, along with a proper junction on N18 (which is needed anyway).

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,092 ✭✭✭gjim

    The rail part of it is fantasy crayon stuff "LSMATS proposes to maximise opportunities offered by the existing rail network..." explains the thinking. The problem is that the stations proposed to be added to the existing rail network provide connections for which there is very little demand. For most of the proposed stations, Colbert provides provides a very round-about way to get into the city - coming from Corbally for example, getting a train to Colbert knocks about 600m off a direct walk to the central shopping area - I just can't see people bothering. Very few of the other stations are located near centres which are dense enough with employment, shopping or residential which could generate demand along the proposed routes.

    The bus proposals are better/more realistic although it's disappointing that they're sticking to the double-deckers which limits the frequency and capacity because of the poor dwell times compared to single decker - articulated or not. The format means you also need an extra lane for other buses to pass at bus stops - to ensure that a single full bus doesn't block an entire route - which is difficult on many routes because of the lack of road space. Single deckers or articulated single deckers are what the rest of the world are using - better journey times, more accessible, less demand on road space, less visually intrusive, etc. - I've no idea why Ireland seems married to this novelty bus format.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,316 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    I was in Nice a while back and they have loads of single decker buses that have few seats and loads of standing space. This means that a short bus can take sixty passengers with most standing. They also have multiple doors meaning people can get on and off quickly.

    The double decker has the advantage of having seats for everybody.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,685 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    Articulated single deckersare superior to double deckers in almost every way. I don't understand the obsession with double deckers in Ireland, BC should have been an opportunity to pivot away from them, particularly away from Dublin where there is less existing infrastructure designed around double deckers.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 326 ✭✭MyLove4Satan

    I have to say - and I know it is crayonism - but I am glad to see the Ryder Cup passenger reopening to Adare put out there. It does have merit and I would go on step further and reopen the North Kerry line to Newcastle West.

    Yes I know they built and road on the track bed at Rathkeal and there is a cyclepath now, but Christ almighty we are not talking the Gothard Base Tunnel here in terms of moving the line to the west and few yards in places.

    I think the main problem with reopening in the past that was always nuts in this country is that it was always about the WHOLE line and not concentrating on achievable bespoke elements that were do-able. This is why I hate West on Track to the core of my being with their 'all or nothing' mentality. It has detracted away from something like putting Newcastle West on the Limerick Commuter rail service rather than reopening the entire thing to Tralee because some elderly priest took it to his seminary as a young lad.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,316 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    Bendy buses work if you have wide roads and no tight turns, as many European cities have. But they are hopeless if you ever travelled on the No. 10 in Dublin coming round from Lincoln Place into Westland Row where the bus had to wait until there was no traffic from either direction in order to clear the turn. Not only are the turns next to impossible, the road service is also bad such that anyone sitting in the back seats should wear a crash helmet to save injury from the frequent bounces.

    I hate bendy buses.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,685 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    When did that bus operate again? "I had a bad experience once" is not a good reason to reject something forever more. Obviously the road needs to be designed to accommodate them if necessary, setting a stop line back a bit is not a big deal. Most European cities use articulated buses and no they aren't exclusively wide roads and no tight turns.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,110 ✭✭✭✭blanch152

    When did anyone in Ireland obey a stop line set back a bit?

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,316 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    It is not just the bendy nature, it is the truck and trailer build. There are better articulated designs that allow the bus to navigate tighter corners as the rear part is designed to follow the front track. The trailer design is poor because the suspension allows the bouncy nature of the trailer, making it unpleasant. Also, the bus design adopted for the No 10, had no doors at the back and only one set of doors for entry and exit delaying the wait at stops - everyone alighting had to get off before anyone could get on and it is a long way from the back to the front, particularly if the bus is full.

    Of course this was before a proper cashless operation for passengers, but with a better design, and with perhaps four axels, and rear doors they might be better.

    I still hate bendy buses.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,685 ✭✭✭Pete_Cavan

    I regularly use three axel articulated buses on the continent and they are not at all bouncy at the back. Designs have been hugely improved in the last 30 years (I suspect there were even far superior options available when articulated buses were used in Dublin but crap was bought), hardly surprising given they are the standard in most European cities (and there is good reason for that). I suspect the reluctance to change here is the inability to roll out proper off-board ticketing and lack of ticket inspectors.

    Anyway, in relation to Limerick, the topic of this thread, how many routes in Limerick would require the capacity of artics (as opposed to standard single deckers)? It would be interesting to see an assessment of these routes and if there would be any parts which could not be navigated by an artic, and if not what would be the detour required. BusConnects should be an opportunity to do things right and introduce artics into regional cities.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,092 ✭✭✭gjim

    I use articulated buses semi-regularly also. They're so superior for the passenger and operationally, double-deckers seem like an anachronistic joke. I've never experienced this bounce.

    Yes, to get the full benefits, they require ticketing infrastructure like trams but in return you get tram-like service. Dwell times are short and fixed duration which means you can actually offer a scheduled service with reliable intervals along the entire route since bunching cannot occur. Bunching is absolutely guaranteed with double-deckers (have a play around with to see why even a tiny delay for one bus will inevitably cause buses to bunch) which can only be alleviated with double-decker variable dwell times by adding padding - i.e. deliberately slowing every bus to accommodate the worst/slowest stop. But this is terrible for journey times and the throughput/capacity of the route.

    Single deckers are far more accessible the entire bus is available to those with disabilities, the elderly, people with luggage, parents with kids in buggies etc. Having a single "one-way" choke point for all passengers using the upper deck (the stairs) means you cannot fix the slow loading/unloading times by having extra doors downstairs or supporting tag on/off at the bus stop.

    The single deckers in the city where I currently live (often rated as having the best or at least top-5 best PT in Europe) share tram alignments, platforms, ticketing infrastructure, in the city centre because the stopping patterns are tram-like making much more efficient use of precious road space in the centre and providing massive capacity. Seeing walls of double-deckers parked or queued up trundling along in the centre of Dublin just looks ridiculous in comparison - particularly watching buses having to manoeuvre out into another lane to pass a stopped bus.

    Another issue with double deckers in Dublin is that some obviously useful routes are blocked because of the height of buses and the low bridges along a significant section of the elevated section of the DART. As a result all buses coming from the south east are funnelled through small area in the centre of town north of Pearse - instead of being able to be sent across the river via the Becket bridge for example. Similarly, useful routes that would connect the North Docklands to the north west of the city are not possible. And I believe Wine Tavern Street cannot be used either for double deckers.

    Double deckers are a colonial relic that should be kept for tourist tours or maybe far-outer suburban routes which stop very infrequently. There's a reason why nearly the entire world chose to use single deckers for city centre public transport.

    (Slightly off-topic rant over.)

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,316 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    It would make a lot of sense for us to use single decker buses, it is just we all expect a seat on the bus. Now if the routes were shorter, then the single decker would be OK.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,690 ✭✭✭SeanW

    Somewhat off topic but I don't get the hate for double decker buses. As someone who lived in Dublin for years (and had to deal with its ever worsening transport and accommodation crises) double decker buses were a godsend. The city should have a network of suburban railways, metros and trams, citywide, and should have had them 20 years ago, but in the absence of this you have to use what is available and accept what downsides may come.

    Double decker buses allowed for a lot of people to carried comfortably along main routes and also provided additional capacity for peak loads when you had to have standees in addition to all the seats, which was far from unusual in my recollection. Yes, you could argue they shouldn't be needed if Dublin had proper investment in its transport system, but in the absence of that ...

    Though I doubt there would be a need for double deckers in Limerick or going out to Shannon Airport.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,092 ✭✭✭gjim

    I wouldn't describe it as hate. It's more that single deckers are clearly superior in almost every way. Except for ourselves, the UK and a few ex-British colonies, everyone else in the world uses single deckers for urban public transport and there are good reasons for it - see my list earlier. The only advantages of double deckers is they have a smaller footprint and can theoretically be run on very narrow streets with tight corners.

    Operationally for high frequency quality service, the variable and slow dwell times for double deckers means you can never offer the sort of service that single deckers can. Living in Europe at the moment, when I use one of the (articulated) bus services near me, I glance at the electronic arrivals board and it typically looks like "72 - 4 minutes, 72 - 14 minutes, 72 - 24 minutes, etc." and this is in the middle of the route. This pattern is repeated for other bus routes so having to make a connection for a trip doesn't induce anxiety either. It's a well studied and understood phenomena that variable/longer dwell times of double deckers make this sort of regularity almost impossible. I've gone over the other advantages already in a few post up.

    With specific regard to your point about capacity, artics have generally higher capacity than double-deckers although this is often at the cost of fewer seats - they've more a tram like layout - an advantage of which is you have plenty of space if you want to bring a kid's buggy, luggage or even bicycles on board and that all the seats are accessible to everyone. To be fair double deckers aren't too bad for an infrequent service with fewer stops away from the centre of the city or for novelty stuff like sight-seeing tours, but they're a poor format if you want to provide a high-capacity, high-frequency service through the core of a city.

  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭9320

    Berlin has Double-Decker Buses - one of the issues with Articulated buses is that whilst they might be accessible on board it can be a lot harder to make them accessible at stops - this was a Dublin issue where so many buses go along Nassau Street that having the space to align the full length of the bus with the footpath proved problematic. Might not be such an issue in Limerick of course which is what the thread is supposed to be about.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,062 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    I was just going to say we've disappeared down quite a wormhole! Very interesting but not quite expected.

    On LSMATS, what are the chances that this rev will be rejected, like the previous one was? As much as CMATS contains glaring errors, it's great that something exists to work towards. It's great also that the latest sounds from stakeholders are "CMATS will be updated" to resolve some of the errors.

    This could be a better route forward for LSMATS. Accept this, commit to reviews at specific dates.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,203 ✭✭✭dave 27

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,288 ✭✭✭pigtown

    Did anyone attend the webinar on this this evening? It was a good summary of the draft strategy with a question section at the end.

    Nothing new really. It seems there's an industry wide shortage of engineers etc so councils are still trying to hire their full active travel teams.

    Rail was studied in detail and there just isn't the population density close to the rail lines to justify a commuter rail network in the medium term, and current council policies won't change that.