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Unread 25-09-2011, 14:20   #1
ThomasJ
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Default Varadkar pulls plug on Metro West

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0925/metro.html

Disappointing but unsurprising all the same. What is surprising is that the planning funding for metro west was still available up to now.

Anyway it was nice to dream for a while. As a constant traveller to south/south west dublin it would have been a huge enhancement not to mention getting to the airport/swords. Only light at the end of the tunnel is Dublin bus's expected announcement of the enhanced 76 route from blanchardstown to tallaght operating hourly (or better) 7 days a week. Slight consolation!

So now focus switches back to metro north ......

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Unread 26-09-2011, 00:41   #2
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In the past 12 months, we've had a rail line closed, more under threat, a fully built station in Dublin unopened, and 2 Metro developments shelved. It's 12 months since Rosslare-Waterford was shut, while 3 airline services have been cut recently.

Of course it is important, but I wish the authorities recognised that's there's more to trains and transport than the figures in the profit and loss column. Not everyone has a car or a bus on tap, to go about their business, and there should be a way for them to get across the country, without having to take to the highways and byways every time.
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Unread 26-09-2011, 05:20   #3
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Default Minister willing to sell assets to help fund road projects

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...304755339.html
Quote:
Minister willing to sell assets to help fund road projects
DAVID LABANYI

MINISTER FOR Transport Leo Varadkar has said he is willing to sell assets, over and beyond the stake in Aer Lingus, to raise money for capital projects.

He is also considering new tolls on the M50, and possibly the Jack Lynch tunnel, and securitising toll revenues in a bid to raise funds for a capital programme that includes a number of costly rail projects.

Mr Varadkar told The Irish Times he is in favour of adding multiple tolling points on the M50 and described the current system as inequitable. “It is quite unfair that people pay quite a high toll just to travel one bit of the M50 and nothing for the rest of it.”

“I think multipoint [tolling] on the M50 is a good idea. It makes sense to me and we figure there would be an extra €50 million a year in from that.”

The Minister is also examining the potential for other tolling points around Dublin, and on the Jack Lynch tunnel, although he said this would be “very politically controversial”.

The current M50 tolling system was designed to handle multiple tolling points and the Minister said the required planning permission is also in place.

Mr Varadkar said he was awaiting confirmation from the Department of Finance and Public Expenditure that additional toll revenues could be retained by the department, before proceeding.

“I am only interested in pursuing it if I knew the money was going to be used for new road projects and road maintenance. I will have to have a deep and meaningful [conversation] with Noonan and Howlin on that.”

However, he cautioned that installing additional tolling points was expensive and would take time. “So even if we did it [multipoint tolling on the M50] we wouldn’t be expecting any revenues until 2015.”

An alternative is to securitise toll revenues. “That is one of the things under consideration. You agree to get the toll revenues as one block upfront but then the downside is you don’t get toll revenues for the next nine years. It might give you the resources you need to fund a capital programme.”

This would effectively mean handing over ownership of certain tolled roads for a period of about 10 years. The Minister said any such contract would contain limits on the level of toll increase that could be imposed and that all of the tolled roads would be considered for such a scheme.

Mr Varadkar is considering additional asset sales because the weakness of the exchequer finances means no new road projects of any significance will commence before 2015 and “as things stand I would be lucky to get any of the rail projects through.

“The spending review is very difficult.”

Among the rail projects are the multibillion-euro Metro North, Dart Underground, a rail spur to Dublin airport from the Dart line at Clongriffin and a link-up for the two Luas lines, Line BXD.

It is highly unlikely the first three will proceed on cost grounds, leaving Line BXD as the only option.

A briefing document prepared for the Minister earlier this year noted that Ireland’s financial position was making it difficult to secure finance for major road and rail infrastructure projects.

Mr Varadkar said it would be a “big mistake” for the State to stop investing in infrastructure.

“My view is that you need to continue to invest in the economy to build new roads where they are needed and to invest in the public transport system, but we won’t be able to do that unless we are prepared to take tough decisions on current spending.

“I am willing to sell assets to help buttress the capital programme.”

He said the sale of all assets including airports, ports and roads, with the exception of the public transport companies, would be considered.

The Minister added that he has received a number of expressions of interest in Aer Lingus, from “airlines and investment firms” and said once the pension issue at the airline was resolved at the end of this year, the number of interested parties was likely to increase.


RISE IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT FARES: CIÉ SUBSIDY TO DROP BY 20%

Public transport fares will rise next year to compensate for a reduced subsidy from the State, according to Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.

“The reduction in the subsidy to CIÉ over the next few years will be in the region of a 20 per cent cut so that will have to be met through a combination of fare increases, cost-cutting and cuts to services. Obviously I favour cost-cutting over higher fares or cutting services.”

He added that cash fares will increase “a good bit” to encourage people to switch to an integrated ticket, which the Minister expects to be available in 2012.

Mr Varadkar said he also supported a move towards “Ryanair-style” ticket pricing for Irish Rail where passengers are offered cheaper fares if they book far in advance.

“I think it is the right way go – it mightn’t be very popular with consumers – but from a financial point of view it is the right way to go.”
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...304755391.html
Quote:
Metro West plan postponed due to economic climate, says Varadkar
TIM O'BRIEN

PLANNING FOR Metro West – a new rail line to link Ballymun and Tallaght – has been frozen, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar announced yesterday.

Mr Varadkar said he had instructed the Railway Procurement Agency to withdraw its application for a railway order from An Bord Pleanála.

He said the move did not mean the project was cancelled, simply that it was postponed. The Minister said that even as a partnership with the private sector it would have required “a significant exchequer contribution”.

“Metro West has always been considered a long-term project and many of the new communities that it will serve have not materialised due to the collapse in home building,” he said.

He also revealed that since the financial crisis began three years ago, none of the Government’s planned major public-private partnerships (PPPs) had secured funding.

He said: “The successful awarding of a major PPP contract involving private funding is challenging at any time but particularly in current circumstances. No major PPP project has secured funding since the financial crisis began three years ago.

“Until financial credibility is restored, the international debt funding market will be reluctant to lend funds to finance projects in Ireland, the repayment of which is ultimately dependant on the State. Moreover, the exchequer will not be able to make its contribution to the cost in the foreseeable future.”

Asked if this meant the Government would not be able to make its contribution to the cost of the full range of public-private partnerships, a spokesman said Mr Varadkar had been speaking only in relation to Metro West.

The spokesman said all other transport projects would be brought to planning finality and a decision taken in relation to available capital funding at that time.

Meanwhile, An Taisce chairman Charles Stanley-Smith said Mr Varadkar’s decision was “a welcome act of sanity and the only responsible approach in the context of the economic constraints facing the country and the lack of funding for the project”. He said the proposal included an “unacceptable” crossing of the river Liffey valley at one of its most scenic points and in the heart of the Special Amenity Area Order. “We are calling for more of this responsible decision-making and for a transport solution for Dublin that is fit for people’s needs now and the country’s capacity to deliver it.”

Mr Stanley-Smith said that, in the short term, the expense of an oral hearing has also been saved. This would have cost the local community hundreds of thousands of euro.

However, Fianna Fáil councillor David McGuinness described the decision as “short-sighted and premature”.

Mr McGuinness said that “while everyone recognises that to commence construction of this project was unlikely in the short term, to not advance it to a shovel-ready status is the wrong decision and shows a worrying lack of vision for public transport in Dublin West by Minister Varadkar”.
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Unread 26-09-2011, 11:54   #4
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Default DOT considering BRT for 4 lines

Quote:
By Paul Melia


Monday September 26 2011

THE Government plans to build a network of rapid-transit bus services in the capital instead of expensive light-rail systems.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has begun developing proposals for four Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, which could be developed at a fraction of the cost of Metro North or other Luas tram systems, it emerged yesterday.

BRT involves buses running on lanes which are segregated from all other traffic, including taxis. The vehicles are also given priority at traffic lights. There will also be measures to reduce dwell times at stops such as multiple door opening and off-vehicle ticket purchasing.

Last week the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), which plans Luas and Metro projects, was given new powers extending its remit to include BRT and early planning work has begun on four lines to Dublin city centre from the Stillorgan Road, Blanchardstown, Malahide and Lucan.

It is understood that a 'Blue Line' BRT on the Stillorgan Road would include a route from St Vincent's Hospital to Sandyford -- estimated by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to cost €33m.

It would include 10 stops, carrying 1,000 passengers per hour each way with buses every six minutes at peak times.

The moves comes as Transport Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday confirmed he had suspended the planning process for the proposed 25km Metro West light-rail system which was planned to link the major suburbs of Tallaght, Clondalkin and Blanchardstown before terminating at Dardistown.

A public hearing into the line was due to begin on October 4 next, but the planning application has been withdrawn due to a lack of funding.

"Metro West was to be procured as a Public Private Partnership (PPP), however, a significant exchequer contribution would also have been required," Mr Varadkar said.

Limited

"The successful awarding of a major PPP contract involving private funding is challenging at any time but particularly in current circumstances.

"This does not mean that Metro West has been cancelled. However, with very limited funding available for capital projects over the next few years, I did not consider it to be a good use of taxpayers' money to advance Metro West any further."

The Government is expected to publish a review of its capital spending programme next month which will outline how much will be spent on new public transport projects up to 2017.

There are four major rail projects in the mix -- Metro North, DART Underground, an extension of the DART line to Dublin Airport and a link-up of the two Luas lines in Dublin.

It is likely that Metro North and DART Underground will be shelved while one of the other projects may go ahead.

Metro North and DART Underground are costed at more than €2bn each. But BRT is also being considered because it is far cheaper to build than rail.

Yesterday Mr Varadkar said he was keen to explore the use of BRT, if money was available.

"BRT is effectively a Luas on wheels which can be delivered at a much lower cost," he told the Irish Independent.

"It has already been provided successfully in a number of cities, including Cambridge in the UK and Eindhoven in the Netherlands. It's definitely something that we would like to pursue if we have the funding."

- Paul Melia
http://www.independent.ie/national-n...l-2887236.html
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Unread 26-09-2011, 12:36   #5
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What is going to happen is Dublin-Cork prices will rise. Imagine it near €55-€60 euro from Thurles (in 2008/9 it was €39 and it quickly jumped up to €46) or if it jumped to €80 from Cork and yet the Galway-Limerick and Waterford-Dublin lines will probably not see a increase. I think that Waterford fare hasn't increased since the mk2's last served it. What is even more shocking i pay more to Limerick junction from Thurles than a other man pays in Waterford city. If Iarnród Éireann can't sell many seats on them services then run smaller trains and charge a fair price. Dublin-Cork passengers are the easy target to make up for losses on other lines.

Last edited by Destructix : 26-09-2011 at 12:39. Reason: typo
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Unread 26-09-2011, 14:36   #6
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"Luas on wheels" - Luas has wheels!

But haven't I heard that phrase before? http://www.google.ie/#sclient=psy-ab...1360& bih=614
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Unread 26-09-2011, 15:43   #7
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Rail Procurement Agency running a bus service
Would it not be better just to have Bus Éireann run it. This way they wont have to build bus depots and hire more staff.
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Unread 27-09-2011, 03:28   #8
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Originally Posted by Destructix View Post
Rail Procurement Agency running a bus service
Would it not be better just to have Bus Éireann run it. This way they wont have to build bus depots and hire more staff.
RPA might figure out hard stuff like all door loading and Proof Of Payment ticketing which DB seems permanently incapable of doing but which is an imperative for BRT.
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Unread 27-09-2011, 07:11   #9
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Why do they always feel the need to solve problems in Ireland by ignoring them? Rather than deal with problems like drivers not opening all the doors, or buses going out in bunches because the drivers like to chat at the terminus, they just set up another entire organisation to run a few bus routes. I suppose it gives the government a nice well-paid CEO job and a few board positions to hand out to their cronies.

The result of this will be further fragmentation of the Dublin transport network. No wonder it takes more development effort and processing power than Facebook to produce and integrated ticketing system for Dublin.

The dedicated busway idea makes a lot of sense - certainly a lot more than Metro North ever did. There is nothing wrong with buses as a transport solution aside from the Irish obsession with the "buses are for losers" meme. So maybe you can fool them by tarting a bus up to make it look like a tram. What ever happened to the 39 express route? I used to take the 39 in from the NCR about 15 years ago and they had the ability to force traffic light changes back then. That service worked really well - it was pretty frequent and was fast than a bicycle which is saying something for public transport in Dublin.

There is no point in pouring billions into attempting to solve the transport problems for just one area for once and for all. It makes a lot more sense to find a lower-cost method that has a more widespread application even if it is only a stopgap. If you take the original inflated 6 billion Metro North estimate at face value, you could pretty much buy the entire town for Swords for that now. Now the figure was exaggerated, but probably not by more than double and that is an absurd amount of money to be spending on delivering transport to an area.
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Unread 27-09-2011, 07:29   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Howard View Post
The dedicated busway idea makes a lot of sense - certainly a lot more than Metro North ever did. There is nothing wrong with buses as a transport solution aside from the Irish obsession with the "buses are for losers" meme. So maybe you can fool them by tarting a bus up to make it look like a tram. What ever happened to the 39 express route? I used to take the 39 in from the NCR about 15 years ago and they had the ability to force traffic light changes back then. That service worked really well - it was pretty frequent and was fast than a bicycle which is saying something for public transport in Dublin.
Automatic Vehicle Location - AVLS (currently being used for Real Time Passenger Information - RTPI) will assist this being reintroduced.
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Unread 27-09-2011, 11:45   #11
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Glad the plug has been pulled on metro west. Way too costly. All we really need is a rail link to the airport. Hopefully it will be a Dart extension. Scrap the metro altogether. Dart and Luas should suffice.
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Unread 27-09-2011, 14:19   #12
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Glad the plug has been pulled on metro west. Way too costly. All we really need is a rail link to the airport. Hopefully it will be a Dart extension. Scrap the metro altogether. Dart and Luas should suffice.
Unless you have the misfortune of living in Swords or Ballymun of course. Very naive to look a Metro North as just being an Airport link. That's all Dart extension is though and it will clog up rest of line.

I agree on Metro West. It was a lame duck.
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Unread 27-09-2011, 21:42   #13
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Originally Posted by sublimity View Post
Glad the plug has been pulled on metro west. Way too costly. All we really need is a rail link to the airport. Hopefully it will be a Dart extension. Scrap the metro altogether. Dart and Luas should suffice.
Hopefully it *won't* be a DART extension, for reasons which have been extensively discussed on this board and elsewhere: the IR route doesn't serve any populated communities on the way, the DART has half the catchment area that it otherwise would due to being a coastal line -- and hopefully it won't just stop at the airport -- Swords is a major population centre which should be connected to rail.
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Unread 01-04-2013, 22:40   #14
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If they extend the airport spur out to the disused rail line to the east of Clonsilla they would avoid the coastal lines and provide redundancy for the trains.This would put some of the airport traffic out of the city center.Adding stations at Rosemont business park,Blanchardstown, Damastown business park and Dunboyne to the net .

The point of a railway to the airport is so that hicks like me will not be clogging Dublin roads using taxis to the airport.

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