People Before Profit Support Dublin City Transport Plan; Criticise Minister And Management And Call For Free Public Transport

Last week the Dublin City Transport Plan was back in the headlines when Fine Gael Junior Minister, Emer Higgins, called for the implementation of the plan to be delayed until at least 2025.

Often misrepresented as a ban on private car travel in the City Centre, the plan’s major aim was to end the use of the City Centre as a “rat run” for through traffic transiting from one side of the city to the other.

Changes and delays to the Traffic Plan announced by DCC Chief Executive, Richard Shakespeare last week were described as “disappointing” by People Before Profit Councillor (Ballymun-Finglas) Conor Reddy, himself a cross-city commuter from the Northside to where he works on the St. James’ Hospital Campus. Conor said “As someone who travels by bus or bike everyday, I’m hugely disappointed by Higgins’ attempts to bulldoze plans agreed by elected Councillors in favour of private car park owners and a tiny, unrepresentative business lobby. Like many Dubliners, I spend hundreds of hours a year on public transport crawling through traffic. When I opt for the bike over the bus, I cycle along dangerous roads with almost no space between me and vehicles weighing tonnes that could very easily kill or injure me seriously. Neither situation needs to be the case, the Transport Plan could be a first step to shorter commute times, safer roads and cleaner air across our City. We can’t let the Government, business lobbyists or the unelected Council management deny us this”.

People Before Profit Group Leader on Dublin City Council, Cllr Hazel De Nortúin (Ballyfermot-Drimnagh) said that: “We need free and frequent public transport to attract people from cars onto buses. It is a disgrace that we still only have the same number of buses in Dublin city as we had in 2008. We also need road tolls on the M50 and East link to be scrapped as these divert traffic through the city centre. Frequent shuttle buses operating in the city are another important addition to public transport that are needed quickly”.

Last week at a Council meeting where Officials addressed challenges to the plan, attention was drawn to issues faced by disabled people under the new plan. From the outset, DCC had been criticised by Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) for a lack of appropriate consultation. People Before Profit rep for Dublin Bay North and founding member of the DPO, Access for All, Bernard Mulvany said: “Access for All has always been in favour of a more people friendly city and DCC must now engage in a meaningful way with mobility impaired communities to ensure that issues of access can be addressed speedily and adequately”.