An extension of the Luas line to Dublin Airport could be done quicker and cheaper than the MetroLink.
That's according to Policy Consultant David Geary, who was speaking as an estimated €300 million has been spent on the MetroLink system, despite no construction having begun.
MetroLink is to run between the Swords and Charlemont areas of the capital, while also serving Dublin Airport.
Thanks to @TheHardShoulder for inviting me to discuss the proposal to extend the Luas to @DublinAirport with @AlanFarrell . We could connect the city, North Dublin and the Airport with a Luas for a fraction of the cost of the @MetroLink_ie while we wait for it to arrive. https://t.co/92M31yWpHR pic.twitter.com/1BO2vVH4aB
— David Geary 🇪🇺🇮🇪🇱🇨 (@davidbgeary) July 5, 2023
Construction work is due to begin in 2025, with a view to it beginning operations in the early 2030s.
Mr Geary, who first floated the Luas idea on Twitter, told The Hard Shoulder he has got a big reaction.
"The proposal basically is to extend the Luas line from the Broadstone/DIT stop out to the airport along the Ballymun Road," he said.
"That would extend the Luas service to Drumcondra, Glasnevin, DCU, Santry, Ballymun and ultimately the airport.
"It makes sense, the Ballymun Road is a big wide road... so it's a fairly simple route.
"It's about 8kms long and it would take 30 minutes to get from the airport into town".
Mr Geary said while MetroLink is important, it is too far away.
"This is most likely going to be built a lot quicker than the Metro, probably delivered within the next seven or eight years," he said.
"That's going to be five or 10 years at least before the Metro shows up".
Mr Geary said the Luas plan would be a lot cheaper than MetroLink.
"The Metro is an important project long-term for the city, we're going to have it for centuries," he said.
"But it does look like the cost of the Metro is significantly higher now than what was originally proposed".
Mr Geary said the cost to extend the Luas would be similar to what the Luas Interconnector cost a number of years ago - between €400 million to €500 million.
"It's 5% to 10% of the cost of what the Metro might cost, and small change in terms of what the cost overruns to the Metro are likely to be," he said.
'Big issue of capacity'
Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell said while he would welcome any rail service to the airport, there is an issue with this plan.
"Regardless of the cost, the capacity is the big issue when it comes to commuters in north Dublin," he said.
"The MetroLink will have a capacity of upward of 20,000 persons per direction per hour, with an estimate from the NTA of 53 million journeys in the first year of operation.
"When you compare that to the capacity of Luas, you're looking at in and around 5,600 on the Green Line.
"There's a very, very large difference.
"I would also question the capacity of the Green Line to actually handle the level of traffic that the airport would generate - nevermind extending it to Swords".
Mr Geary said 'nobody' believes the MetroLink will be delivered on time.
"I think we have to remember the current capacity on any rail line between the airport and the city centre is zero at the moment," he said.
"The Metro is an important project... I think nobody in the country believes that it's going to get delivered on time by 2034.
"Nobody believes it's going to be within the budget that's proposed at the moment.
"In the meantime, we do need a public transport solution.
"[The Luas service] would provide a degree of rail service to the airport, and I think it would be complementary to the Metro.
"While the Metro is being built over the next decade and a half, this could be put in place much quicker," he added.