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TheJournal.ie’s progress report for the Government: Transport

How has the government managed on its promises for public transport, speed limits, taxi regulation and more?

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

1) WHAT THEY SAID DURING THE 2011 ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Labour said it would:

  • Develop a smart public transport system and set a target of having 350,000 electric cars on Irish roads by 2020.
  • Rebalance transport policy to favour public transport.
  • Revise National Development plan to prioritise public transport projects that deliver the best value for money, reduce road congestion and reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Make transport more sustainable, reliable, integrated, accessible and safe.
  • Use a portion of the existing road budget to prioritise repair of secondary roads affected by bad weather.
  • Provide for contiguous cycling routes for commuters and safe school cycle routes.
  • Introduce legislation to ensure all large new residential and commercial developments will have integrated transport services.
  • Complete the roll-out of the Integrated Ticketing System on all modes of transport. Complete implementation of real time passenger information at bus stops in Dublin and Cork.
  • Maintain the Rural Transport Programme.
  • Develop a revised framework strategy for the taxi industry under the National Transport Authority.

Fine Gael said it would:

  • Force all local authorities to develop a transport plan in conjunction with their county/city development plans.
  • Maintain and expand the rural transport network.
  • Overhaul the bus market by introducing competitive tendering for all bus routes.
  • Support expansion in range and frequency of high capacity commuter rail services, particularly Metro North and the Western Rail Corridor.
  • Create a single transport safety body.
  • Review the Nine Year Rule for taxis and look at options to encourage existing taxi licensees to upgrade to new emission friendly vehicles.
  • Direct An Garda Siochána to enforce taxi regulation through a national crackdown on illegal taxis.

2) WHAT THEY PROMISED IN THE PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT

  • In order to rebalance transport policy to favour public transport it will establish a Cabinet sub-committee on Infrastructure to explore the benefits to the public transport passenger of more diverse bus service provision.
  • Support the expansion in range and frequency of high capacity commuter services, which will be subject to cost benefit analysis.
  • Funding will be provided on a once off basis to repair damage done to non-national roads during recent severe weather conditions.
  • Review and update the regulation of taxis and provide for a forum for discussion between the regulatory authorities and taxi providers.
  • Legislate to regulate the vehicle clamping industry.
  • Continue to invest in the National Cycle Policy and look to extend the Dublin Bikes Scheme across the wider Dublin area and to other cities and integrate the scheme.
  • Will maintain and extend the Rural Transport Programme with other local transport services
  • Work with the Aviation Regulator to cut airport charges.

3) PROGRESS – OR LACK THEREOF – IN FIRST YEAR OF GOVERNMENT

  • The Leap card, an integrated card for the Luas, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail commuter services, was rolled out for the Greater Dublin area.
  • The Western Rail Corridor has not been fully completed. Only two sections of the line are open.
  • Metro North was indefinitely deferred in November 2011.
  • An Bord Pleanála was granted planning permission for the construction of the DART underground, but the project was shelved by the government in November 2011. It will be revisited in 2015 for the next capital investment programme.
  • Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar confirmed proposals to reduce the number of Departmental agencies.
  • A forum on clamping regulation is ongoing.
  • There has been a €6million rail investment in Irish Rail, spent on line speed improvements, further roll-out of wifi and fuel saving technology.
  • The Taxi Regulation Directorate has begun clamping down on unlicensed taxis.
  • The Smarter Travel scheme, to get people walking or cycling as opposed to driving, was rolled out in Dungarvan, Westport and Limerick.
  • Cork received its first real-time passenger information for buses.
  • A nationwide audit of speed limits was announced.
  • Details of a €379.5 million investment programme for local and regional roads in 2012 was launched, which includes 120 projects under the Specific and Strategic Projects scheme, improvement works on 13 strategic regional roads and 200+ safety projects.
  • The Government published its report into the future of taxi regulation, which said the powers of the gardaí will be extended; a graduated system of fixed fines will be introduced; and there will continuous social welfare and revenue compliance checks for drivers and vehicle owners, for example.
  • Clamping legislation was announced by Varadkar, including standardised fees and garda clearance for staff.
  • Planning on Metro West was frozen in September 2011.

Our full report: How did the government do in its first year? This is how.

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