Eamon Ryan: Transport projects are not about banning cars

The Green Party leader said it was time to take action on reforming Ireland’s public transport.
Eamon Ryan: Transport projects are not about banning cars

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Eamon Ryan has said that redesigning Ireland’s public transport system does not aim to ban cars, but instead "rebalance" it.

The Minister for Transport and Green Party leader said that the time of talking about making drastic changes to Ireland’s transport system was over, and it was time to take action.

"There’s been enough targets, enough policy measures, enough plans. It’s delivery on the ground that we need to see happen," Mr Ryan said.

Ireland has set a target to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

 

In order to do this, the Government set targets for key areas of the Irish economy to cut its emissions by in the next eight years: with agriculture to reduce its emissions by 25 per cent, energy to implement a 75 per cent reduction, and a 50 per cent cut for the transport sector.

Mr Ryan said that the transport projects have the potential to benefit people and communities around the country, calling plans to put a station in Moyross in Limerick city in the next three years as "potentially transformative" for the area.

Announcing plans on Monday to fast-track 35 public transport projects that have already received funding, Mr Ryan said they would be "sitting on them every month".

"We have monthly meetings with our leadership group, and there’ll be feet to the fire. ‘Where’s the project?’ ‘What’s your delivery timeline?'"

While Mr Ryan said that these projects were just a fraction of the 1,000 public transport projects planned, he said it is hoped that these projects will be used as examples of what can be rolled out across the country.

"It’s not being anti-car or trying to disadvantage motorists, it’s trying to make a system that works," he said while speaking to reporters in Castletymon Library in Dublin.

"But our current system doesn’t work, it doesn’t work for cyclists, it doesn’t work for bus, doesn’t work for pedestrians, doesn’t work for car drivers. It’s not a well-designed, efficient system.

"And when you have characteristics of Dublin city centre, when you’ve a multi-lane, one-way systems often, which was designed to get as much traffic through the city centre as possible, that in my mind is no longer optimal."

He said that lower public transport fares have encouraged more people to use public transport.

"It’s not saying no to the car, but it’s designing it in a way where it’s better balanced and the car has its place, but it’s not in multi-lane motorway systems through our city centre."

He said that the reliability of Ireland’s public transport system was "not good enough", and that one way of addressing that issue was reallocating road space.

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