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Sunday 26 February 2017

Upgrade work on bus shelter cost same as small house

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Costly project: The upgraded bus shelter at DCU yesterday
Costly project: The upgraded bus shelter at DCU yesterday

A NEW bus shelter in north Dublin ended up costing the price of a small house after it was upgraded for disabled users.

The cost of adapting the bus stop outside Dublin City University on Collins Avenue for wheelchair users came to an astonishing €200,000 -- twice the usual budget for adapting bus stops.

Dublin City Council spent €170,000 on the project with Bus Eireann providing the shelter, which is understood to have cost in the region of €30,000.

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

The cost of upgrading the bus stop was €100,000. In addition, the local authority had to spend an extra €70,000 on "co-incidental" works -- laying 200 metres of new footpaths in front of DCU, re-planting grassy areas in front of the college and installing new public lights.

Dublin City Council said the €70,000 cost was "exceptional" because of the site's location.

"Ordinarily, a more typical cost for such a bus stop upgrade would be €100,000.

"Conventional bus-stop upgrades (without wheelchair-parking accommodation) typically range from €20,000 to €25,000 (including VAT)."

The remaining €100,000 was spent on re-laying electricity cables, uprooting seven trees and planting replacement trees in a new location, and moving an existing bus stop to make room for dedicated car-parking spaces for wheelchair users. In addition, a new low wall had to be built to hold in earth that was disturbed behind the shelter.

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

The bus-stop site was chosen by Bus Eireann as part of its policy to make its entire city fleet wheelchair accessible.

"In order to facilitate the roll-out of further accessible coach services, Bus Eireann was asked by the Department of Transport to nominate existing bus stops that might be converted to fully accessible stops by local authorities.

"One of those stops nominated by Bus Eireann was an existing Dublin Bus stop at DCU so as to facilitate an accessible coach service on Bus Eireann's 109A service covering DCU-Dublin Airport-Navan," said a company spokesman.

Sunday Independent

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