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May 1998 Archives

Dublin's Traffic

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I work from an office at home and don't suffer the traffic in Dublin on a regular basis. For that reason, I can perhaps see the scale of the problem more clearly than daily commuters.

I am simply staggered to see the extent to which Dubliners put up with the loss of time and costs associated with the traffic and I fail to understand why this factors is not a huge political issue - day in and day out. If, in almost any other aspect of their life, hundreds of thousands of people were asked to hang around for one hour a day, five days a week and forty-eight weeks a year, think of the outcry. That time equates to 240 hours a year - over six working weeks per person. Its obvious that the problem is going to get much worse as even more vehicles come on the streets and as the bottle necks start locking up.

I've worked extensively in Eastern European cities where trams are widely used in conjunction with buses and articulated trolley buses. It is striking that the streets there are usually very wide to accommodate the tracks and stops. The decision to send LUAS underground is commendable. But, let's be honest, LUAS is only a partial answer and is, in many ways, a big distraction. What's required in Dublin is real leadership and flexibility - not hiding behind reports and organizational walls. It also needs a fair response from Dublin commuters who have to make the changes work, or at very least give them a good try.

First thing I'd do is open up all car parks used by Dublin Corporation, Dail, CIE (Dublin Bus), Dublin Transportation Authority and Government Departments to the public on a 'first-come first-in' basis. Remember that Operation Freeflow started because John Bruton got stuck in a traffic jam!

Secondly, I'd completely libralise taxis and allow anyone who is suitably competent with a safe vehicle to operate a taxi.

Thirdly, I'd introduce quality bus corridors, throughout all key routes with effect from next week. To achieve this, I'd bring in private operators to supplement Dublin Bus's resources. I'd make travel on Dublin buses free for all for a trial period and, long term, I'd pledge to half all bus fares and acquire as many more buses (in a range of sizes) as needed. At the same time, I'd enlist the services of resident associations and community organisations to help assess route demand, design timetables and monitor actual performance.

Fourthly, I would allow private bus operators to operate on secondary routes where local residents feel that they are not adequately served by existing services.

Fifth, I'd make the Lord Mayor of Dublin the de facto supremo of transport in Dublin. The importance of this proposal will become very apparent when(ever) we introduce public elections for this Office - "The Traffic Jam Supremo".

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This page is an archive of entries from May 1998 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2001 is the next archive.

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