Dublin : City News

Last update : July 2005

It will be created an integrated public transport network comprising the following principal components:

- an improved DART / Suburban rail network including improved passenger carrying capacity on the existing network and the development of more tracks on existing alignments, an interconnector between Heuston Station and East Wall and other new rail lines;
- an extension of the on-street light rail network (LUAS);
- the development of a higher capacity segregated light rail network (METRO);
- a much expanded bus network, comprising an integrated mesh of radial and orbital services and a substantial increase in passenger carrying capacity;
- a package of measures designed to improve the integration and attractiveness of the public transport network, including park and ride facilities, integrated fares and ticketing, quality interchange facilities and improved passenger information.

Quality Bus Network (QBN)

It will consist of radial and orbital Quality Bus Corridors and additional bus priority measures. In general, the design of the network will offer a clear advantage to public transport over private vehicles so as to ensure competitive and reliable door-to-door journey times. The target design speed for public transport services in the Quality Bus Network will remain at 22kph.

Loans granted by the European Investment Bank to support public transport development in Brussels, Dublin and Stockholm

The European Investment Bank announced over the past months that it will grant loans to support the development of public transport systems in the following cities :

- Brussels : a long-term loan of &euro 250 million has been granted to STIB, the public transport company of the Belgian capital city, so as to modernise tramway infrastructures and renew its rolling stock (purchase of 15 metro cars, 46 tramway cars, 360 buses and 32 articulate buses). The total cost of the project amounts to &euro 565 million.
- Dublin : a &euro 60 million loan has been granted to the Rail Procurement Agency, which is responsible for building the tramway project (LUAS), that shall improve the mobility conditions in the Greater Dublin Area as of 2004 (see EMTA News N° 8).
- Stockholm : a &euro 108 million has been granted to the County of Stockholm to fund the acquisition of 70 metro units. 125 units were already funded by EIB loans in 2001 and 2002. These new metro cars (so-called "Vagn 2000") will replace obsolete rolling stock on the oldest part of the network, with quieter, more energy-efficient vehicles.

(added March 2004)


Improved health and safety on school journeys

Children who are driven to school by parents each day are inclined towards being more dependent and less fit as they grow older. They are at greater risk of obesity, according to medical research leading on to the threat of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. So improving children’s health is one of the key aims of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programme, which will be run by the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) from 2002 to 2006, at a cost of more than &euro 12m. Under this programme, all the schools and colleges of the Dublin Region (747 primary schools, 253 second-level schools and 35 third-level institutes, making a total of 340,000 students) will receive a questionnaire devised by the DTO, that will be distributed to every student so as to ask them how they travel to school and why they use their chosen means of transport.

It is estimated that 20% of all car trips during the morning peak in Dublin are for the purpose of bringing children to and from school, and the information generated by this survey will also be used to update the DTO’s transportation model, which is used to aid the integration of land use and public transport in the Dublin metropolitan area. (added July 2002)

Operator chosen for the light rail system

The new light rail project (LUAS) for the Irish capital city has reached an advanced stage with the announcement in February of the choice of the company that will operate the first two lines, when they commence passenger service. The first two lines will be opened by December 2003, after a &euro635m construction programme that started in 1999. This new light rail system was first proposed in the Dublin Transportation Initiative (DTI) in 1995.

The trams will be fully accessible and will carry up to 235 persons, 60 of whom seated. Frequencies will reach 5 minutes at peak time. Park and ride facilities will be provided at a number of stops.

The French company Connex has been selected to operate the LUAS lines. The LUAS routes are expected to carry up to 16,500 passengers an hour at peak times.

The contract will ensure that a high standard of performance and reliability is provided on the Luas services. The operator will be paid an agreed operating fee and will be incentivised to maximise passenger numbers. The contract will be for 5 years, with an option for another 5 years.

In September 2000, the Dublin Transportation Office published its transportation strategy for the Greater Dublin Area for the period up to 2016 ("A Platform for Change"). It proposes a major expansion in public transport network, including several additional LUAS lines, a new Metro network and much enhanced suburban rail and bus services.

The cost of the whole Metro system is estimated at &euro 7.2bn, and will be partly funded through a Public Private Partnership process. The Irish government launched for the first phase of the Metro system in January. It is expected to be completed in 2007, and will include a line between the Airport and the city centre.

A new agency, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), was set up in December 2001 as a stand alone, commercial semi-state organisation. They are responsible for the procurement of LUAS and Metro infrastructure, on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. An integrated ticketing system will be introduced so as to enable passengers to use the same ticket on buses and LUAS, suburban rail and Metro. (added March 2002)

Towards a strategic land use and transportation body in Dublin

A consultation paper adopted in March by the Irish Government offers to establish a new institution responsible for strategic land use and transport planning, regulation of the public transport market and allocation of State finance for transport in the Greater Dublin Area. Its concrete missions would be : - preparation and regular review of an integrated long term (15 to 20 year) land use and transportation strategy for the metropolitan area - adoption of a medium term (5 to 7 year) transport implementation programme and short term (2 to 3 year) action plans - monitoring the implementation of the strategy, programme and plans, using appropriate performance indicators - using its enforcement powers to ensure that the implementing agencies (local authorities, public transport providers, National Roads Authority, Railway Procurement Agency) act in a way which is consistent with its strategy and that they deliver on the implementation programme - allocating finance from the Government to support public transport services through public service contracts - carrying out works itself when it considers it more convenient, expeditious, effective or economical to do so - promoting an integrated public transport network, regulating fares and encouraging increased public transport use This strategic body would be under the responsibility of a council made of local authorities, social partners and the Irish Government. The objective is to have a Bill creating this new body prepared in Autumn 2001. (added June 2001)

Dublin Transportation Office Launches 5 New Quality Bus Corridors

Over 100,000 bus users across Dublin will shortly see a reduction in their journey time of up to 40% and a reduction in waiting time between buses during peak hours to less than 3 minutes. The benefits will flow from the launch of 5 new Quality Bus Corridors (QBC’s). The new QBC’s, running to and from the city centre, will increase the total length of the QBC from 40 km to the present 100 km. QBC’s are special lanes restricted to all traffic except buses, taxis, emergency vehicles and cyclists. The corridor is effective from 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday. QBC’s provide significant dedicated road space and traffic signal priority for buses. Enhancements are also provided for cyclists and pedestrians. QBC’s are provided for by the Dublin Local Authorities and funded by the Dublin Transportation Office. Dublin Bus has also introduced Autofare, an exact fare system on all buses, which enables journey times to be faster because less time is spent issuing tickets and change. QBC’s have a proven record of attracting new people to use the bus. Up to two thirds of new bus customers on QBC routes were previously car commuters. As part of the launch of the QBC’s, Dublin Bus is undertaking a massive investment in bus services with an additional 58 buses on the new routes so as to increase capacity and bus frequency. (added March 2001)

A Metro for Dublin

The Government of Ireland has approved in principle the provision of a Metro in Dublin. The project will be brought forward on a Public -Private Partnership (PPP) basis, using a Design, Build, Finance and Operate Mechanism. The Metro network will be completely segregated, with tunnels necessary to maintain the required level of segregation in the densely developed areas. The estimated cost of the system is 5.6 billion Euros, and construction will be largely completed by 2010. The first step on the timeline of project is to build the Luas (Light Rail Transit) Line B. Luas Line B will be constructed between Sandyford in the south of the city to St Stephens Green and will be later upgraded to Metro. The Government has approved a 200 million Euro budget for this line, which will be in service by Summer 2003. The Metro proposal is a key element of the Dublin Transportation Office recommended transportation Strategy for the period 2000-2016, which has been submitted to government for approval. (added December 2000)

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