Petition planned for light rail system in Galway

How the GLUAS would look travelling through Eyre Square.

Galwegians will be asked to sign a petition indicating their support for a light rail system which will be used to push the Government to conduct a feasibility study into a Galway Luas (Gluas).

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said a number of key things have changed in the decade since a voluntary group of business owners first mooted a business case for a Gluas at a cost of €200 million.

The city’s population is now predicted to grow to 124,000 in the next number of years. Ireland faces fines of up to €5 billion for failing to meet a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 – which would need to see a significant reduction in cars on the road.

There is also currently a transport minister in place who is open to considering light rail in Galway.

Just last October, Minister Shane Ross ruled out Government support for a Gluas, pointing to Galway City Council’s transport strategy which found that a “light rail service would provide capacity far in excess of what is practically required”.

“When considering the greater cost of building and operating light rail services at the same frequency as bus services, it is clear that bus-based public transport represents the most appropriate system for Galway,” according to the Galway Transportation Strategy published in August 2016.

However last month in answer to a question by Deputy Connolly, he said his “door is open” to the provision of a light rail system in Galway if there is a demand and if a strong business case can be made.

A 2010 feasibility study on behalf of the City Council favoured an upgraded bus network, warning that a light rail transit (LRT) system would cost nearly €700m or 80% more to build than a bus rapid transit network (BRT). It would take ten years and cause significant disruption to services during construction and beyond.

Deputy Connolly insists that no full standalone feasibility study has been carried out by the Government on a tram system in the city and the public have not had their chance to indicate their preferred method of public transport.
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