Sunday 22 April 2018

Ross: Luas Cross City is a victim of its own success

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross speaking at the Cabinet meeting and launch of Project Ireland 2040 at IT Sligo. Photo: James Connolly
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross speaking at the Cabinet meeting and launch of Project Ireland 2040 at IT Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Cormac McQuinn and Ian Begley

Transport Minister Shane Ross has claimed the Luas is a "temporary victim of its own success" following traffic chaos in Dublin city centre.

Ten more bus routes are being diverted away from the traffic-choked College Green from March 5 to alleviate delays to passengers.

It comes after 17 Dublin Bus routes were re-directed away from the area last month.

There have been mounting complaints about gridlock in the area since Luas Cross City trams began operating there in December.

The Oireachtas Transport Committee will today quiz bosses from Luas operators Transdev, Dublin Bus and Dublin City Council about congestion in the area.

However, speaking in the Dáil last night, Mr Ross denied a claim by Fianna Fáil that there was no forward planning for the introduction of the Luas Cross City. He said Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority (NTA) jointly published a study in 2015 setting out various proposals to ensure the efficiency of transport in the city centre.

"I have been advised by the NTA that passenger numbers on the Luas Green Line have increased by over 24pc since the start of Luas Cross City last December. That's a huge, sudden increase in the number of people using our public transport system. You could say that the Luas has been a temporary victim of its own success.

"But while it is welcomed that so many new customers are using the extended Green Line, this success presents new challenges. It has meant that, at certain times of the day, some trams are operating at capacity.

"However, this is actively and robustly being addressed," he said, adding that seven new 55m-long trams have been purchased to increase capacity.

Last night the Dáil debated a Fianna Fáil motion introduced by the party's Dublin spokesman John Lahart calling for short and medium term solutions to Dublin's "traffic chaos".

The Government tabled a counter-motion insisting there are "short, medium and long term public transport investment priorities" in Project Ireland 2040 that will address congestion.

Irish Independent

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