Irish News

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Transport Minister Varadkar dismisses major international report on Dublin traffic congestion

Clodagh Sheehy and Mark O’Regan

Published 06/06/2014|10:27

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Leo Varadkar

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has dismissed reports of traffic congestion in Dublin city identified in a major international report this week.

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In a single year we have gone from being the eleventh most congested city in Europe to an unenviable sixth position.

Commuters and taxi drivers describe a city where gaps in public transport links and Luas building works are bringing traffic to a halt.

Instead of wasting 87 hours a year caught in traffic, Dublin drivers are now wasting 96 hours according to the TomTom annual survey.

Overall congestion is adding 43 minutes to a regular 30-minute commute, compared to 37 minutes a year previously.

The Minister, (right), however, has a different view of the city’s traffic-choked streets.

Reduced

“My own feeling from living in Dublin, and travelling to various other locations, is that congestion in the city has actually reduced in the last ten years,” he told The

“It doesn’t ring true,” he added, commenting on the international traffic report which put Dublin sixth in Europe and tenth in the world for city traffic congestion.

“Galway is more congested than Dublin - so I’d like to read the report and study it,” said Mr Varadkar.

He insisted a lot of improvements had been made in pedestrian facilities, the cycling infrastructure and the Luas cross city link being built at the moment.

However, others have a different view.

The Luas works are the biggest headache for taxi 
drivers says Christy Humphries of the National Private Hire 
and Taxi Association.

“It’s a major problem. The traffic delays can add another €10 to a short taxi fare,” he said.

“It’s contributing hugely to the congestion around Foster Place and the bottom of Grafton Street and then it’s just going to move on to O’Connell Street.

“We’ve been inundated with complaints since the work started on Tuesday.”

David Healy - a Green Party City Councillor - travels from Howth to Ringsend every day but often has to go to meetings in Swords, Baldoyle and 
Malahide.

“There’s quite a few gaps in the public transport links and I use the bike to fill the gaps. I take the bike on the train,” he said.

He wants to see “an integrated public transport model” where all parties involved feed in to the model and “a lot more money has to be spent on public transport”.

Michael Rochford, managing director of Benchmark Automotive which supplies automotive data to insurance companies and the motor trade, agreed.

“We could find ourselves slipping back into a congestion nightmare unless investment in transport projects increases,” he said.

“Investment in transport is now about a quarter of what it was in 2008,” he stressed.

hnews@herald.ie

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