The proposed paid drop-off and pick-up zone for passengers at Dublin Airport and approved by Fingal County Council must not go ahead without viable public transport options, according to Fine Gael Senator Emer Currie.
Senator Currie criticised the granting of planning permission to the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) for new road infrastructure at Terminals One and Two for the new paid zone scheme.
Raising the matter in the Seanad, Senator Currie, who represents Dublin West, said: “Dublin Airport has claimed this system is part of its sustainability drive and to encourage passengers to make greater use of public transport.
“Like most of my constituents, I was bemused and bewildered at the move given the inadequacies in our public transport system and the fact we still have no direct bus or a rail link to the airport for the entire Dublin 15 and Blanchardstown area.
“Passengers travelling from the West via the N4 or from anywhere south of the Liffey already have to pay up to €3.20 for a toll on the M50. In effect those travellers would now face a double toll for dropping off or collecting a friend or family member directly at the airport.
“Let’s be clear about this – this won’t reduce the number of car journeys to the airport, it simply means DAA will either benefit from an increase in people parking their cars at the airport terminals or from a penalty on those who don’t.
“Given the uncertainty around fuel prices, I really believe this is tone deaf behaviour on the part of DAA and Fingal County Council.
“Not only is there no direct public transport to the airport for Dublin 15 in my own constituency, but it isn’t going to happen until at least 2024 when a new bus route called the N8 is launched as part of Busconnects. This was confirmed in a response to me from the NTA on behalf of people who want sustainable modes of transport to the airport.
“Lucan Village is already overwhelmed with traffic and congestion as it can be used to avoid the tolled M50. How are two tolls for once-off journeys to the airport going to impact it? Is the M50 toll going to be reviewed?.
“The wider implications of this decision have not been thought through. This toll is not an exercise in sustainability. It’s a self-servicing exercise in revenue-raising by DAA, approved by Fingal County Council. It gives sustainability a bad name.
“This toll needs to be scrapped, and we need to be provided with the public transport and connectivity that we want in Dublin West,” Senator Currie concluded.