Metro North to Cost Taxpayers T22 a Trip; Martin Cullen: Unrealistic Figures

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CAREY

IT WAS always going to be an expensive project - but it has now emergedthat every trip on the proposed Metro North will cost taxpayers a staggeringE22.

The report into the cost of the planned link between Dublin Airportandthecitycentre reveals that it could cripple the National Development Plan by absorbingan incredible one-third of all infrastructure funding over the next 30 years.

Metro North, which will take commuters from the northside suburb of Swords toSt Stephen's Green in 20 minutes, has been heavily criticised for the secrecysurrounding its costings - and this new revelation will do little to easeconcerns.

This figure of E22 per trip is more than five times the subsidy for theexisting Luas lines, which cost the taxpayer about E4 per trip.

The report states: 'The total capital costs for the Luas were estimated to beroughly E700million. With 26million passengers carried in 2006, it equates to acapital cost of roughly E4 per trip.

'Usingthesamecriteriaand assuming the total cost of E5bil-lion, the capitalisation cost of MetroNorth would be about E22 per ride over the 30-year project life span.' Thestudy, conducted by the Houses of Oireachtas Library and Research Service, alsocriticises former transport minister Martin Cullenformakingunrealistic claims about the number of passengers who will use the service.

'Assuming operating times similar to the Luas, we can infer 59,419 trains perdirection per annum. This would imply average train capacity of 286passengers,' the study states.

'While specifications for carriage length and capacities are not avail able,this seems like a very high passenger volume. …