Market research conducted in 2013 and 2014 clearly showed that Sligo had a perception issue around the availability of dedicated coach facilities close to the town centre. Following two years of time, investment and promotion, Sligo is now the recipient of two awards (from the Coach Tourism Transport Council of Ireland and the Association of Town and City Management UK and Ireland), recognising the improved services to this market segment.
Award Winning Coach Facilities Are For Coaches Only
The coach tourism business is important to Sligo – coaches bring tourists to the town centre. Visitors will shop, eat and hopefully enjoy all that Sligo has to offer. Frequently tour coach drivers are operating a tight schedule; therefore, getting coaches in and out quickly and efficiently is what is expected as a tourism industry norm.
Unfortunately the continuous and ongoing disregard for the new coach drop-off/collection facility at Markievicz Road has the potential to undo all the positive results achieved to date. In recent weeks, the Council has received numerous calls from coach operators frustrated that they were at times behind schedule due to their inability to access the designated coach facilities on Markievicz Road. We are also informed that coach drivers have on occasion continued on their journey rather than stop on Markievicz Road as the facilities were entirely taken up with cars, delivery vans and mini buses.
In response to this ongoing abuse, Sligo County Council with the support of the business community is initiating a zero tolerance policy on illegal parking in the coach drop-off/collection area. The spaces will be actively monitored by Sligo's traffic wardens. Cars, delivery vans, mini-buses and any other vehicles found to misuse the coach facilities will be ticketed and fined.
The Council recently completed an audit of available public and private, on street and off street parking spaces in Sligo. Within a 750m walk of the Lady Erin monument on Market Cross, there are over 4,000 car parking spaces. We have more car parking spaces available than other towns similar in size to Sligo. Sligo has enough car parking spaces – we just have bad car parking habits.
Our town centre has expanded over the years and the car parks that circle the town core are able to accommodate additional vehicles. Most of the peripheral car parks are within a two/five minute walk of the town centre. Sligo County Council asks that locals and residents consider co operating in supporting the initiative regarding the coach parking as negative perception‘s within the coach sector will ultimately cost the town business.
Sligo County Council in consultation with representatives of Sligo Business Improvement District (BID) will shortly commence a review of the operation and management of the existing loading bays on Wine St, O’ Connell St, Grattan St, Castle St and Stephen St. Businesses located on these streets will be asked to input into hours of operation, improved access for deliveries and loading/unloading and again, the traffic wardens will be tasked with monitoring and enforcing the correct usage of these important service areas within our town.