independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

This bus stop cost €170,000 to build. Politicians want to know how such a bill can be justified

The controversial bus stop at Dublin City University, which cost Dublin City Council €170,000

COUNCILLORS last night said they were "flabbergasted" to discover €170,000 was spent on a new bus stop and shelter, more than the cost of a two-bed apartment in Dublin.

The "crazy" spending by cash-strapped Dublin City Council took place despite massive cuts imposed by the council in recent months.

The bill for the stop outside Dublin City University (DCU), on Collins Avenue, came to €100,000, including the "upgrading" of the stop for wheelchair use. But the cost swelled by a further €70,000 because of "coincidental" works, said officials.

The actual bus shelter itself was provided by Bus Eireann, at a cost of around €30,000, but the taxpayer did not have to pay this sum as it was financed by advertising revenue.

The mammoth spend comes despite stringent cutbacks by the council. Last year it introduced €30m in spending cuts -- a move which included a 5pc cut across many services.

But last night independent Dublin councillor Cieran Perry called for an investigation into the cost of the bus stop.

"I am flabbergasted and stunned at the crazy amount spent on this project," he said.

"There should be an immediate investigation launched into this to ensure the money was legitimately spent."

Dublin city manager John Tierney recently admitted income looked like it would fall further next year and it is understood the council is facing into a potential €25m deficit for 2011.

In a bid to save €1m, plans were drawn up this year for the controversial closure of swimming pools at Sean McDermott Street, Crumlin and Coolock in June.

Difficulties

However, following an intense campaign by locals, €300,000 was found to keep them open until the end of the year -- but their future is uncertain.

Figures released by the council show that €100,000 of the bus stop bill was spent on re-laying electrical cables, uprooting seven trees, planting replacement trees in a new location and moving an existing bus stop to make room for dedicated car-parking spaces for wheelchair users. A low wall had to be built to hold in earth that was disturbed behind the shelter, while the existing bus stop was upgraded with a new surface, pole and sign.

The €70,000 spend included the laying of 200 metres of footpaths in front of DCU, re-planting grassy areas in front of the college and installing public lights.

The costs are believed to have soared because of unforeseen difficulties with the bus stop's location.

The bill will ultimately be paid by the taxpayer, as the cost will be reimbursed to Dublin City Council by the Department of Transport.

Last night, a spokeswoman for Dublin City Council refused to comment on calls for an investigation into the upgrade.

The Department of Transport also refused to comment on the revelations.

Irish Independent

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