Could a congestion charge be considered to help ease Dublin city centre traffic?

Managing Director of Transport for London Derek Turner who presided over the introduction of the congestion charge in London has made recommendations that a similar system should be introduced in Dublin. He believes that if the political will exists to introduce a congestion charge in Dublin, the scheme could be as successful as in London.

This type of city is ready for this type of experiment.

The scheme was introduced less than two months ago in London and has succeeded beyond expectations in reducing traffic levels by about 20 per cent.

Traffic congestion was the theme for a conference at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Owen Keegan, Director of Traffic at Dublin City Council, says he sees no reason why a charge could not be introduced in Dublin given its success in London. He acknowledges that work needs to be done to figure out where the charge should apply.

Bernard Feeney of Goodbody Economic Consultants says that schemes such as the Dublin Port Tunnel, Luas, and the extension of quality bus corridors have improved the traffic congestion in the city. In this context, he says that the climate is right to look at road pricing.

Members of the public are not so optimistic about the plan. One woman says that people would use public transport instead of private cars if the options was available. However, she says that the choice is not there.

Penalising motorists because there isn't a good public transport system, I don't think is fair.

Another man says that existing car parking prices are enough to deter people from bring their cars into the city centre.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 April 2003. The reporter is Deirdre McCarthy.