Motorists must pay congestion charge to ease chaos -- NTA
CALLS have been made for motorists in Dublin to pay a congestion charge to ease peak time traffic snarls.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) said that unless a road usage charge is introduced before 2020, the Government will be unable to meet its stated target of reducing car commuting levels to 45pc of all journeys.
London has a £10 (€12) daily congestion charge for driving a vehicle within designated zones at particular times.
In December 2012, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar rejected the NTA's proposal of charging motorists to bring their cars into cities.
However, an NTA spokeswoman yesterday reiterated that the Government needs to introduce the measure in order to deal with chronic traffic congestion.
"Our advice is that the Government's objective is simply not going to be possible in the absence of some form of road usage charging. It needs to be something region-wide," she said.
"It's to make it less attractive to choose a car option, particularly if there are public transport options there."
The proposal is contained in the NTA's transport strategy for the next two decades called 2030 Vision.
It warns that traffic volumes will increase over the coming years, leading to longer delays for commuters.
A spokesman for Mr Varadkar last night said his position on the introduction of congestion charges has not changed, and he "doesn't believe it is a solution".
Dubliners remain wedded to their cars, with nearly four out of 10 commuters driving to and from their work every weekday.
At 36pc usage, cars remain the most popular means of transport for people travelling in the city during the morning rush hour commute.
While this has been decreasing steadily over recent years from a high point of 40pc in 2010, there have been renewed calls for greater investment in public transport.
"Dublin has one of the worst rates of public transport provision in Europe," said the AA's Conor Faughnan.
"There is over-reliance on cars as a result of the absence of an alternative."
The latest figures come as the hugely popular and successful dublinbikes rental scheme is set to have 5,000 bikes across the city and suburbs by 2017 at the latest.
The Government has also announced an €884m transport investment programme that it says will help ease traffic congestion in the capital.
The money is to be spent on projects including the re-opening of the Phoenix Park Tunnel to commuter trains, the Luas CrossCity and Bus Rapid Transit link to Dublin Airport.