herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Dart link to airport would be too slow to replace Metro

A DART line extension would be an inadequate replacement for Metro North, according to Fingal County Council.

The Government has indicated a DART spur may be a more cost effective way of providing a link between Dublin Airport and the city centre.

However, Fingal has refuted the proposal.

The local authority said the journey time from the airport to St Stephen's Green would be only 19 minutes on Metro North -- less than half the 44 minutes it would taken by DART.

"The DART spur is unlikely to be even competitive with the Aircoach service in terms of journey time (and) is unlikely to attract more than 50pc of the people travelling through the airport captured by Metro North," the local authority stated in a report.

Unlike the DART, Metro North would service "many destinations which generate large volumes of patronage".

These include the "major population centres" of Swords and Ballymun, four hospitals, two universities and Croke Park.

As a result, the service is "forecast to carry approximately two million passengers per kilometre," Fingal said.

The Railway Procurement Agency's transport modelling shows the airport would account for around 20pc of passengers on the underground -- about six million a year.

"Of these, roughly half are workers in airport-related activities who live along the Metro North route, particularly in the Swords area.

"The DART spur would not serve any of these workers. The remaining passengers are people travelling through Dublin Airport, the bulk of who have destinations in Dublin city centre. These people will make travel mode choices based on the time it takes to get to their final destination."

The report points out that the Airport Masterplan incorporates no space within the hub campus for a surface railway station.

This means the airport DART station would have to be located to the east of the R132 near the long term car park.

An Bord Pleanala granted permission for Metro North in October last year.

However, Leo Varadkar ordered a review of the plans following his appointment to as Minister for Transport.

The 16km Metro North line is likely to cost €3bn, mainly because 10km of the track would be underground.

comurphy@herald.ie

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