City council CEO Ann Doherty and the council’s director of transportation, Gerry O’Beirne, say indications from Bus Éireann show the introduction three weeks ago of a time-regulated bus lane on the street from 3pm to 6.30pm has reduced journey times on two key bus routes.
Route 205 has seen up to an 18% reduction in travel time, and route 208 has seen up to a 13% reduction in travel time westwards and a 28% reduction in travel time north to Mayfield.
However, traders say the ban has decimated afternoon trade.
The officials emphasised that further analysis, including on bus passenger figures, footfall, and car park usage, will be needed before the impact of the ban can be fully assessed.
However, they that said this and other measures in the City Centre Movement Strategy must be implemented to prevent the city from grinding to a halt.
Mr O’Beirne said: “There are about 1,000 daily bus movements on St Patrick’s St — the equivalent of about 60,000 seats. That’s a phenomenally important asset to have and build upon.
“If buses can’t move through congestion, then the only other alternative to look at, in time, when it gets bad enough, is how do we pull buses back away from that congestion? And the idea of pulling buses away from the city centre would be an appalling prospect for everybody.”
Cork Business Association has called a traders’ meeting tonight to discuss the issue.
Cork Chamber, which represents a wider variety of businesses in the region, has appealed for the scheme to be given three months.