Good news for commuters using sustainable transport

There are calls for continued investment in the sector

Good news for commuters using sustainable transport

Dublin City at night with the GPO on the left of O'Connell Street | Image: RollingNews.ie

The numbers of people using sustainable modes of transport to travel into Dublin city centre increased.

They now account for over two-thirds of all journeys.

The Canal Cordon Report 2016, published by National Transport Authority (NTA) and Dublin City Council, shows 134,559 people travel into the city centre at peak time using bus, train, Luas, walking or cycling.

This is up from 132,188 back in 2015.

By contrast, the number of people entering the city centre by car is down from 67,755 in 2015 to 67,442 last year.

This means the gap between people using sustainable modes and non-sustainable modes of transport continues to grow.

Sustainable journeys accounted for 67% of journeys in 2016, compared to 66% in 2015.

The number of sustainable journeys in 2010 was 59% and it has increased every year since.

The chief executive of the NTA, Anne Graham, said: "What we are witnessing here, not just in 2016, but over a period of the last six years or so, is a steady shift from the car to the more sustainable alternatives like public transport, cycling and walking.

"We have seen innovations such as Leap Card, Real Time Passenger Information, journey planner apps etc, and these when combined with investment in transport infrastructure such as Luas Cross City, more buses for Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, and rail projects like Phoenix Park Tunnel, make public transport an increasingly attractive alternative to the car."

'One-way ticket to congestion'

The NTA believes to build on this momentum, an ambitious investment programme is needed in plans such as those for Metro North and the DART expansion.

The report has been circulated to members of Dublin City Council Transport SPC for discussion at their next meeting.

However the Dublin Chamber of Commerce say the figures show the capital is on a one-way ticket to congestion.

According to Mary Rose Burke: "The number of people travelling in and out of Dublin city centre is now almost back at peak levels.

"But while numbers are growing, investment levels remain stagnant. This needs to be addressed urgently. Dublin's public transport infrastructure is at saturation point on a daily basis - at a time when a significant number of growth opportunities are opening up for the city as a result of Brexit and wider economic impetus."

She said the current congestion problems are due to "the significant lack of investment" in transport infrastructure over the past decade.

"A considerable increase in investment is now required before the city grinds to a halt.

"As the economy continues to grow, the pressure on our transport network is only going to increase."

The Chamber of Commerce say Dublin is spending around €175m while competitor cities abroad like Manchester and London are spending two to three times as much.

It has warned that increasing congestion is one of the competitiveness factors that will put off companies and staff from coming to Dublin.