Business and user groups welcome Dart plans

Dart Underground is the most important transport project in Ireland’s history according to Rail Users Ireland this afternoon. reported this morning that Irish Rail are seeking permission for a Dart line under the city centre.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce also welcomed plans for the project, highlighting the unusually high 2.5 to 1 return on investment.

“For each euro spent this project will return €2.50, which is very high by international standards for a public transport project,” said Gina Quin, chief executive of Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Mark Gleeson, spokesperson Rail Users Ireland, said: “This is simply the most important transport project in Ireland’s history and will deliver the long promised integrated public transport network for Dublin with significant benefits for all rail routes countrywide with better connections and frequencies. It will address many of the most frequent complaints raised by passengers.”

The rail users group said Dart Underground will resolve the majority of complaints raised by passengers: It will provide a conflict free network, eliminate the rail bottleneck at Connolly station, and allow for a higher frequency services with shorter journey times with a higher level of punctuality.

“With Luas, Metro and long distance trains, this project will deliver the integrated transport experience needed to relieve Dublin of car dependence,” said Rail Users Ireland.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce noted that funding would largely be provided by the private sector through public private partnership, but said it was calling on the Government to politically and financially commit itself to the project’s completion.

“Dart Underground is a long-term investment that will pay divides to residents, commuters and tourists each and every day,” said Quin.

“Dublin’s original Dart service began 26 years ago, with about 440 million passenger journeys since it began. Public transport like the Dart reduces traffic congestion, decreases commuting times, and improves the quality of life for all commuters. Government saw the merits of investing in the Dart during the tough economic times of the 1980s. Similar foresight is required of Government today.”

The chamber added that Dart Underground, Metro North and Luas Broombridge need to be delivered together in the shortest possible timeframe, while ensuring the city remains fully open for business. It called on Irish Rail to work closely with the Railway Procurement Agency, which is responsible for the Luas and Metro projects.

Rail Users Ireland said “The economic evaluation clearly demonstrates that the Dart Underground will make an enormous contribution to the Irish economy and it will change public transport in Dublin and Ireland forever for commuters, for leisure travel and for tourists. We simple cannot afford not to build this and with land and construction costs at considerably reduced levels the time is now to build.”

The rail user group added that it remains convinced that this project could have been delivered sooner had it not been for the lack of priority Department of Transport assigned the project from the outset of Transport 21.

It said the failure to provide flexibility in funding to Irish Rail has resulted in delays and will result in extra cost and disruption to passengers in the future.

ALSO READ: Dart Underground permission sought

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