By Chamber Press Office, 26 August 2020
The proposed DART+ Programme has the potential to transform the rail network in the west and north of Dublin, according to Dublin Chamber.
The Chamber, which represents businesses in the Dublin region, said the addition of increased capacity and frequencies along commuter lines in Dublin was long overdue and will make the train a more compelling and realistic option for tens of thousands of commuters.
According to Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke: "Plans to expand the DART network in Dublin are hugely welcome. Ambitious investment over a concerted period of time is badly needed in order to ensure Dublin's rail network is fit for purpose, both to meet the demands of today and the future. It will soon be 40 years since the DART was first introduced to Dublin. Given its success, it is unfortunate that it has taken so long for the DART network to be extended to other areas of Dublin. The extension cannot be delayed any longer and it is vital that these new plans are brought off the page and made a reality as soon as possible."
"The DART expansion is one of the key transport projects that promises to transform Dublin's public transport network. The scheme offers excellent integration with existing transport links such as the Luas green line and also with other planned initiatives such as MetroLink, DART Underground and BusConnects. Together, these ambitious plans have the potential to provide Dublin with the standard of a public transport network that it so badly needs. We look forward to working on behalf of the business community in Dublin to refine these plans during the upcoming public consultation and to pushing for these projects to be delivered as quickly as possible," said Ms Burke.
DART+ West Expansion Can't Come Quick Enough
Regarding the DART+ West Programme, the first of the DART+ projects due to be progressed, the Chamber said improvements to rail services in the west of the city are urgently needed to address chronic existing capacity issues and to cope with the significantly increased demand that is coming as a result of the high level of home-building occurring along the Maynooth line.
Ms Burke said: "The announcement of Dart+ West is very welcome news for commuters in Dublin. Thousands of new homes are currently under construction and in planning along the Maynooth rail line in commuter areas such as Broombridge, Ashtown, Pelletstown, Castleknock, Leixlip and Maynooth. Before the Covid pandemic, rail services along the Maynooth line were already at capacity with many commuters regularly left stranded on platforms due to trains being full by the time they reached stations within the M50. The addition of the Pelletstown rail station, which is already under construction, plus the proposed Finglas Luas extension will increase the number of people seeking to use the Maynooth line. It is vital that supply is there to meet demand."
Dublin Chamber said it welcomes the news that the Dart+ West Programme will see the introduction of more environmentally friendly electric trains along the Maynooth/M3 Parkway lines. Ms Burke said: "Dublin Chamber supports the aim of providing a greener, more sustainable public transport fleet in Dublin. The transition to electric trains is an important step in ensuring that Ireland can meet its carbon emissions targets. A greener public transport fleet is also desired by users.
“The DART and Dublin Commuter services are vital to the functioning of Dublin businesses. Employees depend on these services, both to travel to the city from commuter towns and to move between hubs within Dublin. While demand for services is currently subdued due to the Covid pandemic, we fully believe this to be a temporary trend. It is vital that we continue to plan and invest for future growth and demand," said Ms Burke.