Dublin commuters 'want more buses, not roads'

 

Dublin commuters want more investment in buses and the Luas rather than a new city ring road, a survey revealed today.

The capital's roads are currently choked with traffic at peak times, with 330,000 using their cars between 8am and 9am and 85,000 people choosing the bus.

But according to a Fine Gael survey today, Dubliners believe more investment in public transport is the answer to the traffic chaos. Around 44 per cent want more Luas lines to be built, 34 per cent want a metro system and 15 per cent want more buses.

Just 5 per cent want an outer city ring road, which is currently the subject of a feasibility study by the National Roads Authority.

Fine Gael transport spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell TD said the message of the survey was clear. "Commuters are saying 'no' to car-based transport in Dublin and want investment in public transport to be prioritised, primarily in light rail and metro services," she said.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of car users (62 per cent) would be willing to use the bus service if they had access to a reliable and frequent bus service.

Dublin Bus operates a fleet of 1,067 buses over 170 routes and carried 150 million passengers last year.

But the survey found the average walking distance to a regular bus route was 20 minutes, enough to deter a significant number of people.

Many commuters reported that it was twice as quick to drive to work than to take the bus. Around 41 per cent of car users said they did not use the bus because their regular route was not covered and another 24 per cent said it was due to the infrequent service.

The survey was carried out using a sample of 300 people in two constituencies on the northside and southside of Dublin. Ms Mitchell said it highlighted the chronic lack of progress in improving public transport around Dublin.

"No major new piece of public transport infrastructure has been commissioned in Dublin for more than five years," she said. "And the Government has also backed away from its commitment to provide a metro between the city centre and the airport by 2007, leaving Dublin as the only major European capital without a rail link to the national airport."

PA