An additional 140 garda officers and late night services on buses, the Luas and the DART, are being laid on in Dublin in a bid to tackle traffic congestion in the run up to Christmas.
The measures, which form part of Operation Freeflow, were unveiled today by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ivor Callely.
Mr Callely said he hoped all those involved in the initiative, which is planned under the auspices of the Garda and Dublin Transportation Office (DTO), would help to make the Christmas period a more pleasant and satisfying experience for those living in, working in, and visiting Dublin.
It is estimated that between 600,000 and 700,000 people will visit the city centre every day in the run up to Christmas, with 86,000 making a trip to Grafton Street.
The Minister called on commuters and shoppers to do their bit to reduce traffic congestion by taking public transport wherever possible, using park and ride schemes and by phoning the city’s traffic control centre if they spot any problems.
“Ireland’s economic success over the past decade has resulted in an expanding population, a growing workforce, increased urban spread, and sustained growth in car ownership.
“While some of these developments are positive, they do present their own challenges in terms of traffic congestion,” he said.
“I would very much like to remind everyone that the success of Operation Freeflow 2005 depends on the co-operation of all.
“Today I am asking all the bodies involved to do what they can in ensuring that Dublin’s traffic is managed in the most practical and efficient way possible during what is the busiest time of the year for businesses and shoppers alike.
“I would also like to encourage the thousands of commuters, shoppers and visitors to make their individual contribution to the success of what is very much a communal initiative,” he said.
The extra officers will complement existing personnel and will focus on 169 road black-spots which have been identified by the gardaí, including the N4/M50 roundabout, Chapelizod village and the Rock Road.
In addition, the Nitelink bus service will operate during the night from tomorrow, November 28, to January 7, with a half-hourly service on 24 routes until 4.30 at the weekends and every night in the week before Christmas. Selected routes will also run services on week nights.
The Luas will have a night service until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays from next week; the DART will have a night train leaving at 12.30am and there will be additional spaces at park and ride car parks.
There will also be traffic updates every four minutes during rush hour on Anna Livia 103.2FM live from the traffic control centre, which will be managing and monitoring all routes into the city.