€8.6m spent on Dublin’s rapid bus scheme “despite no visible progress”

IMAGE: A photomontage of a BRT bus stop on the planned Swords to city centre route.

€8.6 million was spent from 2011 to date on planned Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) routes in Dublin “despite no visible progress taking place”, TD Noel Rock has revealed after posing a  parliamentary questions on the issue.

Rock, a Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, yesterday called for a review of the spending on the planned BRT system for the capital, which is branded Swiftway.

Last week, this IrishCycle.com reported some of the more recent spending on Swiftway but the wider amount was not known. The draft designs of the include mixing buses and bicycles at different locations including conventional bus stops to allow BRT buses higher priority than normal buses.

Rock said, “In 6 years, we have seen €8.6 million spent on the BRT system yet we haven’t seen any substantial progress with it. This is not acceptable and the response from the NTA leaves us with more questions than answers. While we all want to see real improvement to public transport in the North West of Dublin, another report and another drawing – indeed nearly €9 million worth of them spread over six years – simply isn’t good enough.”

The government and the authorities involved aren’t even clear about which routes they will progress to the planning stage. The National Transport Authority (NTA) said recently that they are reviewing if the BRT route to Swords will go ahead fully, or as just a bus lane upgrade or as BRT just within the M50 to serve areas which would not be served by Metro North.

Rock added: “As well as a lack of progress on the BRT itself, the project is also being used as an excuse for other road works not being completed. It has meant delays to other infrastructure along the corridor from Swords to the airport running through to the city centre.”

Some of the spending outlined by the TD, via information released by the NTA, includes how Transport Infrastructure Ireland receiving €5.1 million relating to the BRT project, mainly for staff costs, and another €3.5 million was spent in 2014 and 2016 on studies, public consultation and an Environmental Impact Study. 

“While these are important to the project, I would question the costs paid for these services, and whether this work will all have to be repeated again given the continued inaction,” said Rock.

“Questions need to be asked on behalf of the taxpayer as to whether this was money well spent. Six years have now passed and we have seen zero progress on the BRT system to justify the costs involved,” he said.

“The NTA has questions to answer on this matter. I suggest they could appear before the Public Accounts Committee and explain the costs of this project. The good people of the Northside of Dublin have been waiting, and waiting, on Metro North for decades and – now – find themselves being left on the hook for €8.6 million for a bus system which is no closer to being delivered than it was back in 2011.”

4 Comments

  1. Sounds like it has been a feeding trough for consultants! Lack of progress may mean a decision is close on Metro North – probably announced in the run up to the next election.

  2. Either the Metro or the Luas is the most important and it should have been prioritized. A proper route to the Airport is needed. The one that solves this and is already mostly built is the Luas. You have a direct line from Cherrywood Shankill to St Stephens Green at the moment soon to be extended to Broombridge and in the not to distant future the Airport.

    Also this line can be extended to Bray very easily. You also have the Line from Tallaght to the Point Nth Wall intersecting the other line in O’Connell St. The Metro is also a great idea but at a huge cost. Like Mike Mc Kilen says this €8 million has been a feeding Trough for Consultants.I am very suspicious of anything the Government does, it smells of Corruption. Looking after their Friends the Consultants. All that money wasted and nothing to show for it.

    I just do not like this BRT as it will cause problems for Cyclists. In order to look after the BRT they want to cut the Infrastructure for Cycling,forgoing the Segregated Cycle Paths that was promised.

  3. Agreed that it would make sense to me to continue the Luas line to the airport as it is already nearly there at Broombridge, rather than spend the colossal amount required to build a Metro North. That money would be far better spent on Dart Underground to knit everything together. BRT’s seem to have fallen off the agenda in government thinking despite continued spending as Cian is essentially pointing out.

  4. Extending the luas from Broombridge to the airport would not be a replacement for the Metro North. It would have a totally different catchment area, be considerably slower and have a greatly reduced capacity. It is a nice idea at some future point perhaps. Once Metro North, Dart Underground and Metro West are built, we can start looking at other projects like that. So the 2050s at the earliest I would guess!

    In the shorter term, I think BRT can be a good option for Blanch to UCD and Clongriffin to Tallaght. If done well, it could be a cost effective way of improving public transport in those areas.

    As well as the mega projects like Metro North and Dart Underground, cheaper projects like the BRT and completing a proper cycling infrastructure (liffey route, canal routes and major greenways should be prioritised) could add a huge amount to mobility in the city.

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