Wednesday 23 July 2008

Buses should be allowed use Port Tunnel - report

Buses should be allowed to use the Port Tunnel in order to help tackle traffic congestion in the capital, according to a transport plan published today.

The new action plan for an efficient bus network for Dublin was published by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport.

The proposal aims to have 80 per cent of the city's commuters using the bus network by 2010, and includes expanding the quality bus corridor network, expanding the fleet by 350 buses and boosting links between the different transport systems, such as the Luas.

The committee found that there was a "lack of urgency and coordination" in tackling Dublin's congestion problems, and said there was a need for a "focused and determined approach" to delivering an efficient bus service for Dublin.

"Although there has been some progress over the last ten years the objectives set out in the short term action plan proposed by the Dublin Transport Office to the year 2000 have yet to be met," said the chairman of the Joint Committee, Frank Fahey.

"There appears to be a lack of urgency and coordination in the implementation of an action plan to tackle Dublin’s congestion problems, which need to be addressed immediately if we are serious about dealing with current traffic issues.”

The report recommended that high priority routes and cross city routes be designated to ensure reliable and efficient services, and that off peak frequency be increased using the existing fleet. It also said that buses should be allowed to use the Port Tunnel, and a bus gate - already recommended by the Dublin Transport Authority - be installed at College Green to facilitate a more free flowing bus service through the centre of the capital.

It is also seeking the construction of a temporary bridge beween Hawkins Street and Marlborough Street to speed up journey times, until a more permanent structure can be built.

“Traffic capacity of Dublin road network was reached 15 years ago. Today after unprecedented economic growth, the pressure on the network has increased by 300 per cent but little additional road capacity has been provided," said Mr Fahey.

"Therefore, it is more necessary now than ever that we encourage a greater number of Dublin’s commuters to use buses. This is especially relevant over the next five years before the light rail network is introduced throughout the city.”

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