'Sustainable' transport solutions
In a letter to the Irish Times today Michael O'Leary writes:
"The Dublin metro makes even less sense than wasting €50 million on electronic voting machines. Linking Dublin airport to St Stephen's Green will not encourage any early morning passengers from around the city to do anything other than drive to the airport on the already congested M50. The airport metro will carry fewer than 20 per cent of passengers using Dublin airport. Wasting €1.5 billion (at current estimates) providing airport access for this small visitor group, who are already well served by competing bus services, is economic lunacy.
If this Government knew anything about transport - and it doesn't - then it would scrap this madcap plan to waste €1.5 billion of taxpayers' money building an airport metro which passengers neither want nor need. This money would be far better spent building an outer orbital ring road outside the M50, relieving the intolerable congestion on the M50, and providing better access to Dublin airport for cars and buses, which is how the overwhelming majority of passengers will continue to get there." [The Irish Times]
Here he makes a few slightly suspect statements:
"Linking Dublin airport to St Stephen's Green will not encourage any early morning passengers from around the city to do anything other than drive to the airport on the already congested M50"
Presumably this is because the Metro will not run at 5 O'clock in the morning, yet how busy is the M50 at this time?
Since the plan is to provide links between existing infrastructures such as the LUAS, the DART and Dublin Bus, why would people refuse to use the service?
"The airport metro will carry fewer than 20 per cent of passengers using Dublin airport."
With air travel on the rise and future growth needs to be met, this figure of 20% seems extremely low. And stating that the public service will "provid[e] airport access for this small visitor group" seems a little unlikely. Do the majority of people not travel into Dublin City on arriving in Dublin airport? Would those that don't, change their route if an efficient mode of transport was available? Certainly a guaranteed metro trip trumps a 25 euro taxi.
"This money would be far better spent building an outer orbital ring road outside the M50, relieving the intolerable congestion on the M50, and providing better access to Dublin airport for cars and buses, which is how the overwhelming majority of passengers will continue to get there."
Firstly, could someone, as I am unsure, tell me how many buses run on the M50 to the airport, and from which locations do their trips originate?
This is though, beside the point, and appears only as a diversion, used by Mr. O'Leary to enhance his point. His solution, quite simply, is to build more roads, wider roads and most importantly, roads to the airport. Does this sound like a sustainable solution?
Martin Cullen wrote; "It is not an airport rail link. It is designed to provide a high-quality rail service along a north-south corridor, meeting existing transport requirements in that corridor, serving the airport and facilitating major residential development in the Swords area." [The Irish Times]
Therefore Mr. O'Leary is not just protesting a proposed airport link, he is protesting a public transport initiative. He proposes an alternative though, yet one that takes no account of economic or environmental factors. He suggests building another M50, therefore decreasing car journey time in the short term, promoting further car use. While improved public transport encourages people to move from road to 'rail', Mr. O'Leary's solution simply ensures we will have the same (if not worse) problems, of congestion, pollution etc, in 10 years time.
This is all completely predictable though. For a man that makes his money through air travel in a time of 'a bit of a climate crisis' [Zmag]
"The Minister for the Environment, Mr Dempsey, recently described climate change as "probably the greatest environmental threat facing the global community". Most scientists would agree; indeed, they would go further by saying it is the greatest threat to the survival of humanity on the planet." [The Irish Times]
['Greenhouse gases are already past threshold that spells disaster.' A May 4 article read: 'Global warming fastest for 20,000 years - and it is mankind's fault.'] [Media Lens]
to hear him suggest the solution to our transport woes is more roads for more cars is not surprising. Air travel has a serious impact on global warming, and Mr. O'Leary's ruthless and successful attempts to increase that pollution, and his bank balance, evidences his disregard for the environment and those that live in it.
"Aircraft emissions that go directly into the stratosphere have more than twice the global warming effect of emissions from cars and power stations at ground level and, based on the Government's own calculations, the effect of the 2030 emissions will be equivalent to 44.3 million tons of carbon - 45 per cent of Britain's expected emissions total at that date.
That growth alone, the environmental audit committee says, will make Britain's 60 per cent CO2 reduction target "meaningless and unachievable". The clash of interests cannot be ducked any more, say the green groups. "The convenience we enjoy in covering huge distances in a short time is one of the fast-growing threats to life on earth," said Tony Juniper, the executive director of Friends of the Earth.
"Aviation is an increasing source of climate-changing pollution and we must take steps to curb it now. Planes pump out eight times more carbon dioxide per passenger mile than a train. A return flight to Australia will release as much carbon dioxide as all the heating, light and cooking for a house for a year."
Blake Lee-Harwood, campaigns director for Greenpeace, said: "The simple fact is the boom in cheap air travel cannot be reconciled with the survival of those things we most value about the planet, and will ultimately kill millions of people."
No one is suggesting the governments approach to providing sustainable transport solutions has been anything more than abysmal, but Michael O'Leary's offering is just plain ridiculous and impressively short sighted.
Why does Michael O'Leary want another M50?