Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Mid-West John Curran says he is very disappointed with the low level of investment in Dublin Bus to expand its fleet to meet growing demand and provide for extra services in the Greater Dublin Area.
Deputy Curran was speaking on the issue after receiving new information from Minister Shane Ross and the National Transport Authority (NTA) through a parliamentary question.
“I asked the Minister to outline his plans for capital expenditure in 2018 to increase public transport capacity and in his reply he boasts of funding being provided for 76 new buses to be purchased in 2018 for Dublin Bus.
After making subsequent calls to the NTA, I have now been informed that only 15 out of the 76 new buses are to expand the Dublin Bus Fleet to meet market growth and demand for the service; the remaining 61 buses are to replace older buses.
This reply is further proof that Minister Ross has failed to reflect the strategic importance of transport infrastructure in supporting communities and growth in our economy.”
Deputy Curran said, “Minister Ross has left a lot to be desired with his measly transport allocation in Budget 2018. The low level of funding allocated to current expenditure and capital investment is disappointing. It reflects that developing our transport network is simply not a priority for the Government.
Dublin Bus customer numbers reached a 10 year high in 2017 with almost 140 million passengers; an increase of 11 million passengers. 15 additional buses are simply not enough to meet this demand and further growth.
I am concerned however, that neither the Minister or the National Transport Authority appears to have any insight or knowledge of the increasing demand particularly in light of economic growth and a rise in the number of people in work. According to the Central Statistics Office there are 350,000 more people at work.
“It is disappointing that there is no foresight or forward planning between the Minister, his Department and the National Transport Authority to better support the thousands of commuters that use Dublin Bus.
“The fact that there is no expectation of demand; leads me to believe that the Government is severely unprepared to manage the rising passenger numbers and poor congestion times.
“It is an absolute priority that our city responds to the challenges of a growing and working population,” concluded Deputy Curran.