'Luas teething problems add to city traffic chaos', says Ross
Solving commuter chaos in Dublin city centre in the short term will be stymied by teething problems with the new Luas Cross City service, Transport Minister Shane Ross has said.
Minor tweaks to traffic patterns in the capital in recent days have done little to ease the congestion issues.
Mr Ross said he is concerned about the continuing traffic issues throughout Dublin, but added that the Government is working to improve how people move through the centre.
He said these problems would be addressed by increasing capacity on new Luas services.
Mr Ross added that long-term plans such as Metro North and the Bus Connects scheme, which aims to overhaul city bus links, will help commuters move more efficiently.
However, he said teething problems with the initial stages of the Luas Cross City scheme were contributing to traffic flow problems.
"There seems to be a lack of capacity because it is so popular in the initial phases since the launch on December 9," he said.
"There has been the most amazing appetite for it from people to go across the city, and what we are doing in response to that, because we anticipated this, is we're having new trams.
"They're starting this month, particularly on the Green Line. We are also going to have extended trams, and hopefully that will be completed by St Patrick's Day, but certainly by the end of March. I think we will see those problems largely resolved."
He added that the Government was responding "dramatically" to address traffic issues.
Restrictions on Dublin Bus access to College Green were put in place last Monday to ease pressure on key thoroughfares.
Some buses that ran through College Green were rerouted to ease congestion in the area and allow trams to run across the Liffey.
Mr Ross said he is still concerned about traffic issues faced by commuters.
"Of course I am concerned about it. It has been getting worse as prosperity increases, and as there are more cars on the road in smaller spaces it is bound to happen," he said.
"We are making dramatic moves on this. We are responding dramatically with a vision for traffic nationally."