Dublin Will “Grind to a Halt” Without Public Transport Investment – Chamber of Commerce
Dublin will grind to a halt unless the sharp rise in passengers using rail, bus and Luas is matched by an increase in spending on public transport, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said on Thursday. The Chamber issued the warning after figures released by the National Transport Authority showed that 10m more passengers travelled on public transport in 2016 than in the previous year.
The number of passengers using public transport has risen by 13% over the past five years from 207m in 2012 to 234m in 2016, the Chamber said.
“Dublin’s public transport infrastructure is at saturation point on a daily basis,” Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Rose Burke said. “This is due to the significant lack of investment in our transport infrastructure over the past decade. A significant increase in investment is now required before the city grinds to a halt. The number of people coming into Dublin is growing all the time. These new NTA figures are proof of that. As the economy continues to grow, the pressure on our transport network is increasing. Currently we’re spending around €175m while competitor cities abroad like Manchester and London – cities we’re competing with on a daily basis for business and jobs – are spending 2-3-times as much.
“Congestion has an impact on all workers and all businesses in the city. For many companies it means having to allow employees to alter their working hours, to work from home or to use annual leave. Long-term, such changes can have a significant impact on the business and also on the lives of employees. Commute times and ease of getting around are also key factors that any company considering bringing jobs to Dublin will look at.”
The Chamber said 2017 must be the year in which the Government acts to avert the looming congestion crisis and that the upcoming Mid-Term Review of the Government’s Capital Plan must reflect the increased threat of congestion. The Review must also include a timeline for the construction and completion of Dart Underground and also bring forward the start and finish dates for Metro North, according to the Chamber.
Burke added: “When it comes to transport, it is time that we started favouring more ambitious, integrated, long-term solutions. Dart Underground is a piece of infrastructure that will serve the needs of a growing population for the next 100+ years. It is vital that Dart Underground is brought back on to the agenda.”