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  • News

Commuters deserve much better than this

Monday, 12th November, 2018 7:59am

Story by Tony McCullagh
Commuters deserve much better than this

Photo taken from from ‘Dublin: The View from Above’, by Dennis Horgan, published by The Collins Press.

Commuters deserve much better than this

Photo taken from from ‘Dublin: The View from Above’, by Dennis Horgan, published by The Collins Press.

LAST week, Newstalk devoted much airtime to the daily nightmare faced by commuters around the country, Not surprisingly, Dublin featured prominently.

‘Ireland’s Commuter Hell’ heard numerous horror stories about ridiculously early starts and a public transport system that is struggling to cope with the increased demand placed on it by our resurgent economy.

Even success stories such as the Luas were tainted by tales of overcrowding and anti-social activity, particularly on the Red Line. Some of those living in commuter belt counties such as Wicklow or Kildare spoke of the strain of sitting in their cars for hours on end as the gridlock took hold.

Minor collisions on major arteries such as the M1, M50, N11 or N7 caused chaos. You really felt for the poor parents who were unavoidably stuck in traffic as they raced against the clock to pick up their children from childcare facilities. For some, being late resulted in financial penalties being imposed, heaping further pressure on already stretched household budgets.

Last Sunday, I brought my children into the city to visit the Dublinia museum at Christchurch and made what I now realise was a foolhardy decision to take the car. On the journey in, minor roadworks in Drumcondra – a daily pinch-point for commuters – resulted in southbound tailbacks as far as Santry.

The drive home was even worse. After being fleeced by parking fees, we found ourselves crawling through the city at a pace that would make a snail look like Usain Bolt. The quays have become a particularly inhospitable place for cars with motorists forced into one lane on the approach to O’Connell Bridge. 

The wait for traffic lights to turn green in our favour seemed endless, which I can only guess is a consequence of the Luas Cross City trams being given priority. Whatever the reason, it took us 40 minutes to get from Christchurch to the entrance to the Dublin Port Tunnel (there was no way I was risking Drumcondra on the way home).

If this was my experience on a Sunday, I can only imagine how bad the situation is for motorists during the week, where ‘rush hour’ has now become a day-long endurance test.

A recurring theme in Newstalk’s coverage was the need for a better public transport solution that will make leaving the car at home a viable option. With limited capacity on our streets, the only sensible alternative is to go underground. 

The stories recounted on the radio highlighted both the human and economic cost of living in a city that is negatively impacting on our quality of life. We deserve so much better than this.


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