Sunday 20 July 2008

DTO targets car-driving civil servants

Civil servants who drive to work in Dublin city could soon find themselves taking the bus, car pooling or cycling, as a new initiative to clamp down on private car use targets government employees.

Around 22 per cent of all traffic entering and leaving Dublin is civil servants travelling to and from work. The bulk of them are provided with free car spaces near or at their workplaces. The Dublin Transportation Office estimates that 15,000 of the daily average 67,000 cars that cross the two main canals in Dublin are civil servants.

DTO director John Henry met Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue in recent weeks to discuss the implementation of the ‘one small step’ workplace travel initiative in the Oireachtas and all government departments. O’Donoghue has agreed to put it before the Houses of the Oireachtas commission.

The programme is already in place in RTE and Eircom, and is a package of measures to encourage and support sustainable travel patterns among staff with the design of a travel plan, and regular reviews of the plan. This might include facilitating car pooling and providing cycle parking, showers and lockers.

The all-party Oireachtas transport committee has unanimously agreed that the programme should be introduced for all members and staff in Dáil Éireann.

Committee chairman, Fianna Fáil TD Frank Fahey, said if everyone who used a car for work did one journey less per week, this would be a reduction of 200,000 journeys per day to the city.

He also said the committee would be looking at further incentives, such as tax breaks, to encourage increased use of public transport by commuters.

Fahey also suggested a planned €22.5 million 500 space underground car park at Leinster House might not be required if efficiencies were achieved by the new initiative.

‘‘If this programme is successful, then it could lead to a review of the proposal to proceed with the underground car park,” he said.

Sunday Business Post

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