Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Bus corridors get fast-tracked in Dempsey plan

NEW legislation to fast-track the provision of quality bus corridors is to be introduced by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey with just 13 QBCs having been built in Dublin in the past 10 years.

The move comes as the capital prepares itself for the 'big dig', which will see construction works taking place in large parts of the city as the underground DART tunnel and Metro North are built.

The current system for developing QBCs is "tortuously slow" and "clearly not working", sources said. The new system will see the Dublin Transport Authority, which is expected to be established early next year, take responsibility for the projects under a 'one stop shop' system.

QBCs, or 'Green Routes' as they are called in most regional cities, are designed to make bus travel more efficient by giving priority to public transport on roads.

The Stillorgan QBC in Dublin, 85pc of which is a dedicated bus lane, has seen a doubling of passenger numbers. Last year, over 200,000 passengers used Dublin QBC routes -- a massive increase on the number (144,000) who used the same bus services before they were QBCs.

However, the pace at which new QBC routes are being introduced has angered many. "The rate of development is just a complete joke," one source said. "There's been absolute resistance from local authorities, and the minister has told officials to draft legislation to fast-track QBCs.

"This is being done as a matter of urgency. There are 93 identified pinch points across the city, and we have to unlock them fast in advance of Metro North works."

Paul Melia
Irish Independent


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