Metro up for review in 2015

by Gazette Reporter

WARNINGS of increased traffic congestion along the Swords Road in the coming months has led to renewed assurances about Metro North.
The Government has restated that the planned commuter rail service is still up for review in 2015, and that the proposed Bus Rapid Transit scheme will not, on its own, replace rail-based solutions in the long term.
Based on research conducted by its traffic monitors, AA Roadwatch has said the Swords Road will be one of the worst affected areas in the country in the lead up to Christmas.
Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said: “This AA Roadwatch warning only serves to support our strong arguments in favour of Metro North.  If Metro North had got the go ahead as planned, thousands of users would have switched from cars and the bus, and would be getting into the city centre in relative easy and much quicker times.
“Metro North must be given the go-ahead when up for review next year and the first stop should be one giant car park that can take cars from Swords and all of North Dublin, thereby reducing dramatically the traffic on the M1 and Swords Road into, and out of, Dublin.
“Metro North is the only solution, not Swiftway [bus], which will get caught up in this traffic.”
Deputy Alan Farrell (FG) said: “The Swords Road has a number of pinch points on it, including one at St Pat’s. We have allocated €300,000 to Dublin City Council to remove that pinch point.”
He said that would make a difference to commuters, who otherwise face “sitting in gridlock, which the majority of us do if we’re unfortunate enough to have to drive into the city as opposed to using public transport”.
Like Cllr Butler, he is an advocate of Metro North, but believes the Bus Rapid Transit Swiftway will help to relieve the traffic burden.
He said: “This lends itself to the promotion of the interim transport solution of the BRT.
“While politicians on the opposition side are ‘poo-pooing’ it on the basis that they believe it’s an alternative to Metro, its not.
“It’s a complimentary service to Metro and I have not forgotten about Metro.
“I have said it, [former Transport Minister] Leo Varadkar has said it, and the Taoiseach has said it; it’s not an alternative to Metro, it’s a complimentary service.
He went on to say that the BRT would operate autonomously from the existing network and would not get caught up in the congestion seen on the Swords Road.
Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe (FG), said: “The National Transport Authority is currently undertaking a technical consultancy [the Fingal-North Dublin Transport Study] to assess the long-term rail transport requirements of the North Dublin-Fingal corridor. This review will examine existing proposals, including Metro North as well as other options for a rail-based transport solution to meet the area’s needs in the long term.
“I expect to have a report on the outcome of this review by January 2015.
“Despite the fact that Bus Rapid Transit would be cheaper to build, operate and maintain than rail, it will not on its own replace rail-based solutions where a higher capacity solution is required in the long-term.”
He said funding for the schemes, with Swords and Dublin Airport identified as a priority, would be examined to take account of priorities to 2020.

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