light rail

Metro North should go ahead as planned, says Broughan

METRO NORTH should proceed as planned, former Labour transport spokesman and TD for Dublin North East Tommy Broughan has said, despite comments by party Leader Eamon Gilmore that Labour in power would not go ahead with the project “in the short term”.

light rail

Luas trams not so noisy, says High Court

The Dublin 4 couple who sued because they felt the Luas trams were too noisy have lost their case:

From RTE:

A Dublin couple whose home is close to the Luas Green Line have lost a High Court action against the Railway Procurement Agency over noise from the trams.

Paula and Vincent Smyth of Cambridge Terrace, Leeson Park in Dublin had claimed they could not enjoy their house or garden because of the excessive noise from trams passing their home hundreds of times a day. The couple had sought injunctions restraining the RPA from operating the Green Line in a manner that caused noise nuisance and requiring them to erect an appropriate barrier to reduce the noise.

In a lengthy judgment, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said despite the fact that the RPA had failed to comply with a requirement to set day and nighttime noise levels, the Smyths had failed to establish nuisance.

She said the issue of noise had been dealt with at a public inquiry and had not been challenged.

In their action, the couple had said that Luas trams passed their home 330 times between 5.30am and 12.30am every weekday and 254 times daily at weekends.

They said they were unable to enjoy their garden or hold a conversation when a tram passed. They said the most significant problem was sleep and they regularly had to sleep with the windows shut and use earplugs.

The case will come before the court in two weeks to address the issue of costs.

general issues

Dublin Bus driver attacked before bus is hijacked

A Dublin Bus driver, who is new to both bus driving and this country, was viciously attacked while doing his job last night. This is not the first attack on a driver in this part of Dublin, how long must these attacks continue before action is taken?

RTE report:

A Dublin Bus driver was severely assaulted and the bus he was driving hijacked before a passenger took control of the vehicle in the Liberties area last night.

The driver has been treated for broken bones in his hand and severe bruising.

A man has been arrested.

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timetables and routes

Consultants to recommend sweeping changes to Dublin Bus services

Plans by the government to make cuts on public transport in Ireland are gathering steam, with a consultants report recommending massive changes to transport provision.

One item worthy of special attention is that the minister is talking about reducing, or even removing, service provision on bus routes that are “under performing”.

We don’t expect things to remain as they are, and efficiencies that improve things for commuters are a great thing, but the focus of the government does not seem to be on the right things. They are asking “How can we save money?” when they should be asking “How can we make public transport better?”.

As we have been saying from day one, public transport is not there to make money. One of it’s functions is to get people moving so that they can generate money for the economy by getting to their destination on time, for instance to work or the shops. Is anyone actually quantifying the effect of Dublin Bus’ service beyond the fare box?

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Dublin Bus taken to court by private bus operators

The private operators who were complaining about anti-competitive practices alledgedly in operation by Dublin Bus are finally taking their case to the courts.

We will be watching with interest.

The Irish Times report:

PRIVATE BUS operators Circleline and Mortons Coaches have lodged a multimillion euro law suit against Dublin Bus alleging anti-competitive practices on bus routes from Lucan and Celbridge to Dublin city centre, writes John Collins.

Circleline ceased trading last June after it claimed Dublin Bus “flooded” the routes with buses, a claim the latter has consistently denied.

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government and politics

Transport spending cuts announced in Budget 2009

Details of the 2009 budget were announced today, key points relating to the budget for the Department of Transport for the coming year are below.

As usual the devil is in the details, or in the lack of details. It is safe to assume that any Transport21 projects not mentioned below are dead, and any that are mentioned are by no means assured further funding. For instance planning works for the DART Interconnector means that not a sod of turf will be turned for that project in the coming year, similarly for Metro North.

Many of the transport items mentioned are not really spending, new or otherwise. for example, Luas extensions being paid for by the private sector are mentioned for some reason.

We await with interest the improved bus priority measures in Dublin and the regional cities, no doubt Noel will issue a flurry of press releases in the coming days.

And, of course, there is no mention of the Dublin Transport Authority, so is it still happening and who is paying for it? Or maybe the echos of the 1980s will continue…

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government and politics

Dublin Transport Authority brand rumours

It looks like the Dublin Transport Authority (DTA) will be branded as “Dublin Transport” when it launches in 2009. Peter Cranny, a Senior Transportation Planner for the Dublin Transportation Office, has registered both dublintransportauthority.ie and dublintransport.ie with the Irish Domain Registry, the body responsible for the management of Irish domain names (those dot-ie names that are used at the end of internet addresses).

Presumably dublintransportauthority.ie will be the corporate site and dublintransport.ie will be the one used to provide timetables, route planners and information to the general public.

Previously there was much talk of using a “Transport for Dublin” brand, in the style of “Transport for London” in the UK. Bearing that in mind, you would imagine our canny Mr. Cranny has registered that too… but, no! Low and behold, hasn’t it already been registered, by CIE of all people. How very strange. Our curiosity was piqued when we saw who originally registered transportfordublin.ie for CIE, none other than Joe Ross.

Transport watchers with long memories will remember a Mr. Joe Ross who was the IT Expert who worked on the infamous mini-CTC signalling project which rose in cost by an estimated €45M. The fall-out from the costly project overspend caused outrage at the time, although nothing was ever done about it due to some legal technicalities which halted the inquiry’s work.

So why has CIE registered this name? And why are they spending money on speculative domain names at all? Is this a reasonable use of taxpayers money?

government and politics

Minister attempts to advise himself out of Transport21 mess

It’s not quite a brand new news story that the government continue to waste huge amounts of money on consultants and logos, while projects continue to fall behind (metro north) and others are quietly scrapped (nearly everything else that is not related to road building) but it is worth noting nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Dublin Bus are crying out for funding for new buses and it is still not coming, leaving the network unable to cope with demand and ill-equipped to expand at all. There is no word on the minister’s “investigation” into how many buses are needed in the city, presumably he has the best minds from Transport House on the case.

The most extraordinary thing about it all is that people feign shock the Noel Dempsey’s number one priority is self promotion. What a surprise that is.

Senan Molony of the Indo writes:

TRANSPORT Minister Noel Dempsey spent €2m on consultants in the first six months of 2008 — with most of the money splurged on promoting the Transport 21 blueprint.

The bill was dubbed “truly astonishing” as it emerged that €1.2m has been spent this year on public relations, marketing and advertising.

The huge spend went towards promoting Transport 21, even though many projects aren’t due for completion before 2020.

Labour Party finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said: “At a time when the Government has announced that it is cutting back on such frivolous and wasteful expenditure, it seems extraordinary that Mr Dempsey could continue to splurge taxpayers’ money on promoting his department and himself.”

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fares and ticketing

Fake Dublin Bus ticket scam uncovered

Cormac Murphy of the Herald writes:

Fraudsters have been using forged bus and Luas tickets to evade public transport fares, it emerged today.

Dublin Bus launched a full-scale probe when the scam was uncovered, leading to the arrest of a number of suspects.

A man has already been fined €300 in court for using a fake pass, while other cases are pending.

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Dublin Bus confirm dodgy brakes on some buses

Dublin Bus have been forced to admit that there is a fault with the brakes on certain buses (which ones?), and that it will take ten days to fix. Jay-walkers beware!

RTE reports:

SIPTU says it has belatedly discovered that there is a mechanical problem associated with certain models of bus in the Dublin Bus fleet.

The union says that despite assurances from management it is concerned about driver and customer safety, and wants an independent safety body to examine the problem.

In response Dublin Bus confirmed there was an issue regarding a braking system on certain buses.

However the company said all the affected components were being replaced in a process that would take ten days.

In the meantime it stressed there was no risk to the safety of customers, staff or the general public.