DD Motoring: Could public transport be the answer to Letterkenny’s huge traffic problem?

first_imgOur report on motoring this week comes from one of the most remote places along one of the busiest roads in the county. This week’s Donegal Daily motoring columnist, Brian McDaid, comes live from onboard the Letterkenny Town Bus!We tracked down this familiar sight in Letterkenny this week and decided to go on board to see what it was like and what the people of Letterkenny thought of it.Shocked. We were absolutely shocked to find that little or none of the locals of Letterkenny using the tow bus which will take you anywhere in Letterkenny for less than it costs to buy a cup of coffee “to go” in the town.Talking to the driver of this mystery tour town bus, Jeff, from South Africa has spent the last decade sitting in traffic jams in Letterkenny driving the town bus.Jeff the friendly bus driver on the Letterkenny Town Bus which in not used by near enough local people in town. Photo Brian Mc DaidThere were no passengers on the bus when it pulled into Tesco Carpark for the final run of the day. It’s was a bit like the Kit Kat add for me as I misread the time table and sitting for 30 minutes and like the photographer in the TV add all set up to take the picture of the bear, I went for a coffee and low and behold the bus cruised into the carpark and I nearly missed it.As I flagged down after the stop the driver pull up and opened the door. And the passenger that had been sitting waiting at the stopped gave me a look to say, “I told you it would arrive”. One more passenger seemed to time it perfectly and must have breezed out of the shopping centre and went straight on to the bus. A view of one of the two bus routes in Letterkeny which is seldom used by locals in the town, Photo Brian McDaidJeff says that as soon as the conversation in Letterkenny comes to traffic problems, The Port Bridge and The Station Roundabout seem to take the wrap for the congestion in the town.Maybe a better way at dealing with this is to deal with the smaller problems with traffic within Letterkenny. Most cars that sit in traffic jams in Letterkenny have one person in them. That’s for one journey into town that maybe will take up a parking place for the day and a return journey out in the evening.If this bus was even half full of that type of commuters it would free up ten cars in a traffic jams and free up ten parking spaces, if that happened on every run around Letterkenny the town bus would take 100 cars out of the jam in Letterkenny. every day.Letterkenny Logic Jeff knows that this will never happen because Letterkenny folk just want to drive to the front door of the shop they need to go to when it suits them self.Being a Letterkenny local myself Jeff was spot on, and he is also right about how quick we will blame only the one bridge into Letterkenny as the answer to all our traffic problems. Traffic as far at the eye can see, nothing new in Letterkenny. Photo Brian McDaidIf you need any proof that Letterkenny do not use this service you will find that the small number of people that use the bus service in Letterkenny are not originally from the town. Where they have come from local public transport was part and parcel of their normal commute every day.One passenger on the bus that we got talking to was full of praise for the service, Jeff is just great. It’s by far the easiest and cheapest way around Letterkenny, what could you get for just two euros?This week I travelled around Letterkenny on the local bus service on what is know as route 2, Jeff knows all his passengers by name and even has them all on a group text to let them know if they are going to be delays in Letterkenny which are more likely to be because of traffic jams.The Letterkenny Bus sitting nearly empty in the traffic jam in Letterkeny this week. Photo Brian McDaidThis excellent service is run by Doherty’s Coaches in Dungloe. Jeff says that if you look to Strabane which is a lot smaller than Letterkenny, they use three buses to serve the town. We use just the one. It’s not enough to have a town bus service in Letterkenny so it can be included on a tourism information leaflet, it has to be used by the locals and promoted by the business in Letterkenny. Secret relief roads If you take the L1114 or the L2034 off the N56 and just follow it to the end as there are no signposts to say where you’re going to. You will end up in what is known as The Oldtown. As the name suggests it’s where this town began. Both roads were there long before the railway companies arrived in the town.It’s sad to think that the quickest way in and out of Letterkenny in rush hour are on these old back roads over Leck to get onto the Derry Rd and the mountain road over Listack to get onto the Ballybofey and Donegal road. Lough Swilly and the CDR built their lines into this developing town. The town the railway served was unique in that it had the longest Main Street in Ireland.All roads into Letterkenny getting worse with traffic jams that run all day Photo Brian Mc DaidToday long after the railways have packed up and headed home, the traffic that have followed into Co. Donegal’s unofficial capital are not likely to remember Letterkenny for the length of its Main St, but are more likely to remember the town for the length of its traffic jams.Letterkenny becomes gridlocked every morning. Traffic jams are getting worse in town as one jam in the morning is running into the next one at lunchtime to run into the school rush which runs into the evening rush.It seems that the more that Letterkenny try and build a bypass system around Letterkenny this worse the traffic problems are getting. The traffic arteries of Letterkenny are at breaking point and the excuse that a second bridge is the answer just does not add up any more.Letterkenny started in the Oldtown then moved to the Main St, now it has moved in part to the grand central area as it is called. It’s great to see the town growing but its sad to see that the old roads into Letterkenny that received little or no improvements are the life lines when the town goes into logjam.Happy Motoring folks.DD Motoring: Could public transport be the answer to Letterkenny’s huge traffic problem? was last modified: September 28th, 2016 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more