Saturday 26 April 2008

Mind the gap: commuters face walk at 'integrated' rail station

THE extension of Luas to the Point Depot in Dublin will link up with the city's newest train station, as long as commuters don't mind a 350-metre walk.

The Department of Transport insisted yesterday that the docklands Luas was integrated with the docklands station, but admitted a short walk would be required to move from one public transport system to the other.

The bizarre possibility of an "integrated" public transport system requiring the use of an umbrella to make a connecting journey was raised yesterday, with Fine Gael accusing the Government of making a "huge mistake" and failing to learn the lessons of the past.

Enterprise, Trade and Employment spokesman Leo Varadkar said the decision not to have Luas stopping at the docklands station was "madness", and urged the Government to re-consider the route.

"Commuters are still scratching their heads about the Government's decision not to link the red and green Luas lines, this mistake is now being rectified at the cost of millions of euros," he said.

"Fianna Fail is about to make the same mistake in the docklands. The new Luas docklands extension will not link up with the existing Iarnrod Eireann docklands train station. Once again, Fianna Fail is showing that it cannot learn from its mistakes.

"Minister Noel Dempsey must urgently review this crazy decision. Dublin commuters already have to face traffic gridlock, the M50 car park, the insanity of the Mad Cow, an inadequate bus network and the prospect of a congestion charge. To build a Luas almost half-a-kilometre from an existing train station is a further insult."

Last week, Mr Dempsey said, in reply to a parliamentary question, that the Luas extension to the Point Depot would include a stop at Spencer Dock.

A spokeswoman for Mr Dempsey said the Luas and docklands rail would be integrated. The Railway Procurement Agency, responsible for delivering the Luas extension, added the Luas would stop "very close" to the docklands.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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