Plans to introduce a congestion charge into Dublin city have caused outrage in the Irish capital…
Talks by Dublin City Council on introducing a congestion charge into the city, similar to that already in place in London, have not been popular among Irish citizens.
London Mayor, Ken Livingston, has proved the introduction of a city centre traffic congestion charge can help to ease traffic problems, but many believe that Dublin’s public transport system is simply not on par to compete with London’s and is simply not good enough to constitute the implementation of a congestion charge.
The AA’s public affairs manager Conor Faughnan says: “You cannot persuade motorists to switch to public transport which isn’t there”.
This comes as a major blow to the Irish Government who has recently spent over 800 million euros introducing a light rail tram system into the city.
Over the past decade traffic in Dublin City has reached an all time high, forcing motorists to spend hours commuting to and from work.
The Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) has allocated a total of 153 million euros in traffic management grants over the past five years in a bid to try and combat this, but journey times and congestion remain the same.
Quality Bus Corridors, the special lanes that are restricted to all traffic except buses, taxis, emergency vehicles and cyclists, were introduced two years ago, but have not been successful enough to tempt people from their cars.
But these corridors – which now take up half of all roads leading into and out of the city – just don’t offer a consistent enough service, say motorists.
Dublin City Council last year launched a citywide ‘beat the boss into work lane’ advertising campaign to further persuade people to leave their cars at home, but again failed.
The Luas, a state of the art Light Rail Transit system, is the most recent step the government has taken to improve the cities public transport, but many expect this to have little impact with the two lines currently in operation only serving a quarter of the city and at a cost of 8 euros per day to park and ride.
The cost of the congestion charge is expected to be between 8 and 10 euros a day.
Many Dubliners feel cheated by the new plans to improve the cities transport infrastructure. The Dublin Area Rapid Transport (DART), the cities’ local train service, only runs along the coast forcing those living inland to use their cars or rely on the inconsistent bus services.
Many local businesses feel that the introduction of a congestion charge will result in less people travelling into the city centre to spend money and could therefore ultimately lead to higher unemployment.
Despite opposition Dublin City Council looks set to begin implementing its city centre congestion charge in late 2005.