Driver shortages, not funding, the biggest problem facing strategy, transport boss says

‘Deliverability challenges’ remain for Dublin’s transport strategy, council meeting hears

A number of challenges are facing the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) Transport Strategy, a transport chief has warned.

Giving a presentation at the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s monthly County Council meeting on Monday night Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, highlighted that there are “deliverability challenges” for the 2022-2024 strategy.

Ms Graham explained that there were concerns around the “planning system capacity” to deal with all the projects coming through at the same time.

“Whether the construction industry has the capacity to deliver all of these projects, the impact of high inflation, the delivery structure and the different layers of approval that need to be in place in order to get a project commenced,” she said.


Ms Graham revealed that “driver shortages, not funding, are the biggest problems across all transport operators” involved in the Strategy which is costing up to €25 billion.

County councillors heard that nine of the strategy projects have been submitted to An Bord Pleanála with “indications that oral hearings will not be needed in six of them” while all 12 will be submitted by the end of July, Ms Graham noted.

The CEO pointed out that the percentage of members of the public had increased beyond pre-Covid numbers with 90 per cent of rail users now back using that service.

Ms Graham also informed the council chamber that Iarnród Eireann have been given approval to purchase battery/electric 185 carriages which will result in the capacity of the fleet being increased, while additional Dart capacity will be introduced within two years.

The county council was commended for the number of active travel projects it has in place - now at 60.

A substantial increase in the numbers of people using sustainable and active travel is among the primary objectives of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) Transport Strategy.

The strategy covers Dublin city and county as well as the counties of Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

The draft of this strategy was published for public consultation in 2021 and 1,020 submissions were made as part of that process.

The NTA is required under statute to review the strategy every six years.

Among the elements that have already been proposed and which are to be further progressed and delivered during the lifetime of this strategy includes all elements of Bus Connects Dublin and increased bus prioritisation on regional bus corridors.

A revised and enhanced GDA Cycle Network Plan, provision of high-quality pedestrian facilities and pedestrianised routes, next generation ticketing, Luas extensions to Finglas, Lucan, Poolbeg and Bray, 100 kilometres of electrified rail under the DART+ programme and the Metrolink from north of Swords to Charlemont.