Thursday 8 December 2016

Traffic congestion 'hurting Dublin businesses'

Colm Keplie

Published 30/11/2015 | 02:30

Dublin Bus
Dublin Bus

Rising traffic congestion is losing money for businesses across Dublin, members of the city's chamber of commerce have warned.

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Some firms have had to take measures to deal with the increasing levels of traffic on the capital's roads, including becoming more flexible in allowing staff to work from home.

In one case, a firm even decided to move out beyond the M50, according to a survey by Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

It asked members whether they believed the negative impact of congestion had increased in the last year, and more than half of the respondents said indirect costs had risen. Patrick King, the chamber's head of public affairs, said the underinvestment in transport infrastructure during the crisis years is now having an impact.

"Our transport system is considerably behind where it needs to be. We are not spending enough on new transport infrastructure," he said.

"We need to triple investment to bring our per capita spend into line with cities like Manchester and London - cities we are competing with for foreign direct investment (FDI) and jobs."

Rising property prices and rents, a shortage of housing and offices and rapidly increasing traffic is the price paid for the surging recovery. Finance Minister Michael Noonan recently said the country now has the "problem of success".

The Coalition's 'Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021' plan sets out €42bn worth of investment over the next six years, including €10bn for a transport plan. Design work on Metro North will begin next year.

However, construction works on the scaled-down Metro project will not begin until at least 2021 - and the 16.5km line between Dublin City, the airport and Swords will not carry passengers until at least 2026 or 2027.

Funding is also being provided for other public transport projects, including new buses, the expansion of the DART to Balbriggan and the completion of Luas Cross City. Plans are also under way to increase Dart frequency.

Some 57pc of the 303 respondents to the Dublin Chamber survey said the indirect costs of congestion had increased over the last year.

The chamber carried out its survey earlier this month, with 303 respondents. Of those, there were 16 occurrences of duplication - where two people from the same firm answered - but this would be where the firm has more than one location.

Irish Independent

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