Supporting Local News

Bus parking study could see ban for tour operators on Merchants Road


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Bus parking study could see ban for tour operators on Merchants Road Bus parking study could see ban for tour operators on Merchants Road

Galway City Council is set to commission a study on tour bus parking in the city, which could result in visiting coaches being moved from their current set-down area on Merchants Road from next year.

Galway City Council voted to amend its draft City Development Plan to include a statement highlighting the need for current arrangements to be examined and more suitable locations identified.

Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said Merchants Road was “not the optimum place” for tour buses and said a study on the issue would be conducted as part of a review of the Galway Transport Strategy (GTS).

He added that the National Transport Authority (NTA) had granted two licences to tour bus operators in respect of parking on Merchants Road until late 2023, but noted that the study would be completed before then.

The future of the other major parking area for tour buses at Galway Cathedral was not mentioned specifically, but it is understood that all existing arrangements will be up for review in the context of the new study. At a meeting of the local authority, councillors disagreed about the suitability of the Merchants Road location, as well as the value of tour buses and their passengers to the city.

“The city is benefitting very minimally from it,” said Cllr Frank Fahy (FG), who also questioned why coach companies from elsewhere in the country were not subject to the same restrictions as local operators, which are required to use the Coach Station at Fairgreen.

However, Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) argued that visiting tour buses were of “serious benefit” to Galway. If they were prevented from dropping off passengers to go shopping at a convenient location, “they would ignore the city and go elsewhere,” he claimed.

“I believe the parking of tour buses along Merchants Road has been of benefit to businesses in the city centre,” said the Independent councillor, adding this location was “the only place we can have it at the moment”.

Brendan McGrath disputed this claim, asserting: “Merchants Road is not the only place. It is a place, it’s not the optimum place, but it’s not the only place.”

“It is envisaged as part of the review of the Galway Transport Strategy that there will be a parallel study done in relation to tour bus parking,” said the Chief Executive, acknowledging that solutions were needed.

“The street is not the appropriate place to be accommodating [tour buses] other than at licenced stops, where they are leaving people off and collecting people. The GTS review and the study will seek to deal with the totality of the issues.”

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