Metro North review to examine other rail-based solutions
A REVIEW of the decision to suspend the Metro North project due to take place next year will also consider other 'rail-based' solutions to the public transport deficit in Swords, it has been revealed.
Answering a Dáil question from Swords-based TD, Clare Daly (ULA), Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar said: 'This review will examine existing proposals as well as other options for a rail-based transport solution to meet the area's needs in the long term.'
The minister did however, offer some assurances for those people who are worried that the proposal for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Swords would put Metro North in jeopardy, saying the Swiftway BRT project was not a long-term replacement for a 'rail-based' solution.
He said: 'The NTA has also proposed a BRT Scheme as an interim solution to the short term demand needs of the Swords/Airport corridor. BRT would be a fast and efficient form of public transport in some parts of Dublin and would be cheaper to build, operate and maintain than rail.
'BRT will not on its own replace rail based solutions where a higher capacity solution is required in the long-term, such as on the Swords /Airport corridor.
'Under the current capital plan, funding is only available for the initial design and route selection of a small number of BRT schemes.
'These schemes, of which Swords/Airport has been identified as a priority, will be included for consideration with other projects in deciding on priorities for the capital plan post 2016.'
Explaining what will happen with the review of rail services to Fingal, next year in preparation for a new Government capital plan in 2016, the minister said: 'Following the comprehensive review of capital expenditure carried out in 2011 a decision was taken to defer the Metro North and a number of other projects which were not affordable in current circumstances.
'It was made clear at the time that these projects would be reviewed again in preparation for the next capital plan post-2016.
'The priorities under the current capital plan are to protect investment made to date, to maintain safety standards and to progress affordable projects such as Luas Cross City which add value to the existing network.'
Minister Varadkar added: 'Preparation for the next capital plan will be informed by work underway such as the Strategic Framework for Investment in Land Transport (SFILT) which is being developed in my Department and the technical consultancy proposed by the NTA to assess the long term raill transport requirements of the North Dublin/Fingal corridor, extending from Finglas to Malahide and including Dublin Airport and Swords.
'The specific projects identified to meet current and future demand will be prioritised for inclusion in the next capital plan.'