Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Transport Policy

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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44. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he is taking to ensure “increased ambition for public transport capital investment”, as recommended by the Climate Change Advisory Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28464/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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As the Deputy may be aware, the Government is committed to reducing transport emissions and improving our public transport offerings is critical to achieving this. Since the formation of Government in 2020, a number of new public transport projects have significantly progressed in line with the National Development Plan 2021-2030.

Under the National Development Plan 2021-2030, BusConnects programmes are to be substantially delivered in all of Ireland’s five cities by the end of the decade. Not only will these programmes significantly enhance the quality of public transport in our cities, where feasible, they also include the parallel development of high-quality cycle lanes, providing safe, accessible, and efficient transport, while reducing traffic congestion as well as noise and air pollution.

In Dublin, the planning applications for all Core Bus Corridor schemes were submitted by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to An Bord Pleanála. Six schemes have been approved by An Bord Pleanála so far – the Clongriffin, Liffey Valley, Ballymun/Finglas, Belfield/Blackrock, Blanchardstown, and Swords schemes. Legal proceedings are ongoing in relation to the Clongriffin and Belfield/Blackrock schemes. The first five phases of the Network Redesign have rolled out across Dublin since 2021 and will continue to roll out in the coming years subject to funding and craftworker availability.

The new bus networks for Cork, Galway and Limerick have been progressed. A public consultation on the proposed new bus network for Cork is expected to launch in the coming months.

The DART+ programme will modernise and improve existing rail services in the Greater Dublin Area by electrifying the lines and purchasing new rolling stock among other work. The expansion will create a connected and electrified rail network for the Greater Dublin Area, increasing the network from circa 50km to 150km and doubling city centre capacity from 26,000 passengers per hour per direction to 52,000 during peak hours.

Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) have lodged Railway Order applications in respect of DART+ West and SouthWest. It is expected that CIÉ will lodge a Railway Order application for DART+ Coastal North to An Bord Pleanála in the coming weeks.

MetroLink will be a fully segregated and mostly underground new railway line between Swords and Dublin City Centre, the first of its kind in Ireland. MetroLink will serve multiple residential communities such as Swords, Ballymun and Glasnevin, as well as the City Centre, Dublin Airport, major employment zones, education, transport and other facilities. MetroLink will be able to carry a peak capacity of 20,000 passengers per hour per direction in the future.

An Bord Pleanála commenced an Oral Hearing in relation to MetroLink on February 19th, which concluded on March 28th. Dependent on the outcome of the planning process, construction of MetroLink is earmarked to commence over the coming years with a view to operation by the mid-2030s.

A significant milestone in the progression of the MetroLink project was cleared this June when the appointment of the MetroLink Project Director was announced.

The Cork Area Commuter Rail programme is a key element of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy and seeks the transformational enhancement of the rail system in Cork to improve the attractiveness of rail, support compact urban growth, encourage and enable modal shift to public transport, and reduce congestion and emissions.

Phase 1 of the Cork Area Commuter Rail programme was included in Ireland’s National Recovery & Resilience Plan, as submitted to the European Commission in 2021. All works associated with Phase 1 will be completed by end-2026 as required by the European Commission.

This will facilitate the longer-term electrification of the network through construction of a new ‘through’ platform at Kent Station to create an integrated suburban network, re-signalling of the network, and double-tracking from Glounthaune to Midleton.

The Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan is a major 5 year public transport initiative developed by the NTA to increase connectivity outside our major cities and towns. Over 100 new or additional bus routes have been introduced since the commencement of the plan in 2022, connecting over 190 towns and villages to the public transport network.

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