Written answers

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Ministerial Meetings

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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218. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of occasions on which he or his officials met with the four Dublin local authority CEOs to discuss traffic in Dublin; the number of times he has met with the four directors of transport for the Dublin local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5987/19]

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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221. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times he has convened his officials and appropriate invitees to meet to specifically discuss traffic congestion in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5991/19]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 and 221 together.

As the Deputy is aware, congestion is a challenging issue and the responses required are multifaceted and will comprise short, medium and longer term actions.

At a central Government level, I know we need to provide a sound policy framework and ensure the availability of appropriate funding to allow for an expansion of public transport services and networks, and that includes those services and networks within the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

So that is why I have provided funding to the National Transport Authority (NTA) to introduce measures such as –

- Expanded PSO bus fleet, which has grown by approximately 17% in recent years;

- Increased and improved PSO bus services across the GDA;

- 10 minute DART services;

- Increased usage of the Phoenix Park Tunnel for Kildare Line commuters;

- Expanded off-peak services generally across the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) rail network; and

- Introduced longer trams on the newly extended Luas Green Line.

In the medium term I am providing funding to the NTA to –

- Continue to expand the GDA PSO bus fleet which will increase again this year;

- Deliver new and improved cycling and walking infrastructure, with a number of important projects starting construction this year;

- Complete the City Centre Re-signalling Project which will benefit GDA rail services

- Explore, and secure, medium term solutions to capacity constraints on the rail network; and

- Extend all trams on the Luas Green Line and purchase 8 additional trams and I expect these extended trams will begin to arrive by Q4 this year.

The Deputy may also be aware that my Department is undertaking a review of public transport policy in line with the commitment given in the Programme for a Partnership Government. This review is a significant and substantial resource commitment and my Department has commenced, and substantially completed, the research and analysis required to inform the proposed period of public consultation which I expect to launch in the near future. The issue of congestion will of course be among the issues to be raised during that consultation and I look forward to hearing the Deputy’s views on potential solutions as part of that process

In the longer term, I am of course working with my Government colleagues in delivering upon the ambition of Project Ireland 2040and its National Strategic Objectives of Compact Growth and Sustainable Mobility, both of which can alleviate congestion issues. Delivery of major, transformative projects such as BusConnects, DART Expansion and MetroLink will have a major role to play in making Dublin a more sustainable place to live in, work in, or even just to visit.

In relation to specific traffic management issues within the GDA, the Deputy is presumably aware that the NTA has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area and the effective management of traffic and transport demand in the region. It is the NTA that interacts with the local authorities on such matters, in line with that statutory remit.

I have therefore referred the Deputy's questions to the NTA for further information in relation to traffic management and relevant meetings. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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219. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times he has met representatives of cycling bodies in Dublin since his appointment. [5988/19]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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Since my appointment as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have had one official meeting, on 26 June 2017, with cycling groups (Cyclist.ie, Cycling Ireland, and, Mr Neil Fox Cycling Safety Advocate). However, I regularly meet representatives of cycling groups and campaigners in a more informal capacity to discuss current issues which affect cyclists nationally.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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220. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of times he has met with a person (details supplied) to discuss plans for College Green Plaza and the potential impact same will have on traffic flow and public transport flow in Dublin city. [5989/19]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area.

My officials hold regular meetings with the NTA to discuss various issues relating to public transport infrastructure, services and traffic management in Dublin and the regional cities.

I have not met with Dublin City CEO Owen Keegan to discuss plans for College Green Plaza.

Noting the NTA's responsibility for implementation of public transport in the Greater Dublin Area, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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222. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the meetings he has had with TII to discuss demand management measures on the M50. [5995/19]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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I attended a meeting with Departmental officials and TII on 14 May 2018 where the issue of M50 management measures was discussed. Prior to that date and since then, there has been regular and frequent contact between my officials and TII to progress this plan.

As a result, legislative arrangements are under way within my Department to provide TII with the powers to manage and regulate variable speed limits on the M50. This new system will improve operational efficiency of the motorway by

- smoothing traffic flow,

- improving journey time reliability and

- Reducing the number of secondary traffic collisions.

- Implementation of an integrated and coordinated response to traffic conditions by TII and emergency responders.

- Improved dissemination of information to road users.

To progress this important measure, TII is extending the motorway traffic control centre at Dublin Tunnel to cater for the additional workload from the introduction of VSL and is currently procuring the management systems and hardware which will be erected on existing gantries.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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223. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of meetings he has had with Dublin Bus since his appointment. [5996/19]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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Since May 2016 I have met with Dublin Bus on four occasions, as follows:-

30 August 2016

16 September 2016

26 April 2018

9 August 2018

In addition to these meetings, I am of course briefed by officials on any relevant issues which arise during the course of normal administrative and corporate governance related contact between my Department and the company.

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