College green taxi ban 'would be a backward step for public safety'
A proposed ban on taxis using College Green when the Luas Cross City service gets up and running has sparked major concern about public safety.
Dublin City Council has said traffic movements will be monitored when the Luas begins.
If there are problems, one option being considered is a ban on taxis using College Green, it emerged yesterday.
The council had been hoping to have a ban on east/west traffic movement and a new pedestrian plaza in place at College Green. These plans are under appeal.
Tony Roe, the chairperson of the National Transport Assembly, which acts as a forum for taxi drivers, bus drivers, train drivers, and others involved in the transport sector, told the Herald of his concerns in relation to any ban on taxis from the busy area.
"Anything we are doing on the National Transport Assembly, it is in the interest of public safety," Mr Roe said.
"If taxis are banned in that area, it would definitely be a backward step. It would jeopardise the safety of the travelling public."
Mr Roe said it was very important that taxis are available when large groups of people leave pubs and clubs collectively.
"If they are going to be stranded, they are going to have to walk down to another region to pick up a taxi. It is going to be detrimental to them," he said.
"It is going to definitely jeopardise the safety of the travelling public, and we would be 100pc against taxis being banned from that area."
Mr Roe, who is the spokesperson for taxis on the transport assembly, said that representations will be made in relation to the matter.
"We have to get the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to be on board with this, and act effectively and efficiently in this issue," he added.
"We will be taking this up with the Government, and we hope to have an urgent response to it.
"It would not be in anybody's interest to ban taxis in that region.
"To me it would be counterproductive, because taxis are an integral part of public transport.
"I don't think we can discriminate against one section of public transport in lieu of the other."
Mr Roe said that taxis were public transport, and this had to be remembered, adding that the assembly had previously held meetings with politicians on the issue. Meanwhile, the Luas Cross City will open for passenger services on December 9 from 2pm, allowing Christmas shoppers and commuters travel from Cabra/Broombridge to the capital's main shopping areas of Henry Street and Grafton Street, before continuing on to Dundrum.
The new service will form part of late-night services over the festive period.
Luas Cross City will cost almost €370m and will extend the Green Line, which currently runs from Brides Glen to St Stephen's Green.
Construction on the project began in July 2013, and some 10 million passengers a year are expected to use the service.
It is one of the largest capital investment projects undertaken by the State.
It will take 21 minutes to travel from St Stephen's Green to Cabra, with a total of 13 new stops, eight in the city centre.
The new system is designed to help reduce congestion and emissions from traffic, as well as improving air quality.
Meanwhile, driver training has started and testing has been done to make sure that services will be problem-free when up and running.