€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.”