Tuesday 16 July 2019

Public transport agencies attend local meeting to discuss changes

Representatives from Irish Rail and Dublin Bus attended the meeting on public transport in Greystones
Representatives from Irish Rail and Dublin Bus attended the meeting on public transport in Greystones

Mary Fogarty

More than 20 people attended a meeting in Greystones last week to discuss local public transport issues with the providers of those services.

Minister Simon Harris arranged the meeting, which included representatives of various public transport agencies.

Cathaoirleach of Greystones Municipal District Cllr Nicola Lawless said that the purpose of the meeting was to get all key public transport stakeholders around the table to discuss the strategic plan that the members have compiled. Invitations were sent out to the National Transport Authority (NTA), Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, Bus Eireann and GoAead.

'We were very pleased that Dublin Bus and Irish Rail attended this meeting, listened to what we had to say and took on board our plan. It was disappointing that the NTA would not attend as most of the long-term issues are under their remit,' said Cllr Lawless.

'I am pleased that all stakeholders confirmed their commitment to developing our public transport system,' said Minister Harris.

'Our public transport network was starved of funding during the economic downturn and the impact has been very real for the people of Greystones and County Wicklow. Where our train, Dart and bus services should have been developing, there was a standstill.

He said that, in recent years, €1.5 billion to €2 billion has been invested in the public transport infrastructure and that Irish Rail has confirmed it is ordering 350 new train carriages in order to expand capacity. The first 50 of these will be available in 2021.

He said that it is vital to ensure that the most is made of the asset that is Greystones train station as the population grows.

'I am really pleased that Irish Rail are listening to this and have committed to increased capacity on existing services. They have also confirmed their commitment to finding a way to make Darts every 20 minutes possible,' he said. At the meeting, Irish Rail confirmed that this would involve significant alterations to the line, according to Minister Harris, who added that the NTA's Bus Connects proposal is dependant upon a more frequent Dart service for Greystones.

He said that Irish Rail has also committed to increasing capacity on existing services by replacing the standard four-carriage Dart with six and eight carriages at peak times.'Both Dublin Bus and Irish Rail said that they are operating at capacity, so capital investment is critically required,' said Deputy John Brady, who was also present at the meeting. 'We also need to be ambitious and plan for the here and now, but also the future. I believe that a feasibility study needs to be commissioned into running a second rail line south of Bray and also running the DART to Kilcoole and further. Provision also needs to be made for park and ride facilities, both for bus and rail.'

Cllr Lawless said that she intends to organise a follow-up meeting with the NTA.

Bray People