Operation Freeflow, which is now in its ninth year, was officially launched today (Monday, November 29) by Ivor Callely, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Transport.
Minister Callely, who has specific responsibility for Operation Freeflow, stated that a comprehensive plan has been put in place to manage and control the increase in traffic throughout the Greater Dublin Area during the Christmas period.
The plan, which runs until Friday, January 7, 2005 was put together over the past two months under the auspices of An Garda Siochana and the Dublin Transportation Office in close co-operation with local authorities and transportation service providers.
"This year's Operation Freeflow has been significantly improved and extended in order to better manage the 10% increase in traffic volume that Dublin experiences throughout Christmas and the early part of the New Year. It will ensure that Dublin's traffic is managed in the most practical and efficient way possible during what is the busiest time of the year for businesses and shoppers alike," said Minister Callely.
A special effort has been made this year to provide and promote Park and Ride facilities as part of Operation Freeflow.
1,500 Park and Ride spaces will be provided at the Quick Park site on the Swords Road, near Collinstown Cross. For just €5 per car customers can park their cars from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.. The €5 charge also allows each car occupant to travel on the dedicated Dublin Bus shuttle service from the Quick Park site to Parnell Square East every 15 minutes as well as unlimited travel for the day on the entire Dublin Bus network of scheduled services. The shuttle service will be available Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.. Customers can return to the park and ride site on the shuttle service or on the following scheduled Dublin Bus services; 16A, 33, 41, 41A, 41B and 41C.
A total of 1,605 Park and Ride spaces will be available to LUAS passengers. 849 of these spaces are available on the Sandyford to St. Stephen's Green line consisting of 110 car parking spaces in Sandyford, 313 spaces in Stillorgan and 426 spaces in Ballaly. 756 park and ride spaces are available on the Tallaght to Connolly Station line. They are located at the Red Cow LUAS depot with easy access from the Naas Road, west of the Red Cow roundabout.
An additional 150 Gardai will be redeployed to the Dublin region to boost traffic resources. More than 100 traffic black-spots have been identified throughout the city and will be targeted for attention.
Dublin Bus will provide customers with an extended Nitelink service every night from Monday, December 13 until Thursday, December 23. The first bus leaves at 12.30 a.m. with buses every 20 minutes until the last bus at 4.30 a.m.. The fare is €4 and €6 for longer distance routes.
Luas are also providing a late-night service. Starting on December 2 and finishing on December 23 there will be additional trams running until 3am on Thursday thru Sunday inclusive. The fare is €4. Full details are available on the Luas website www.luas.ie.
Changes have also been made to the DART service as part of Operation Freeflow. To accommodate customers in the run up to Christmas, all weekend DART and Commuter services will operate northside and southside on the first three weekends in December.
A freephone text and telephone number 1-800-872345/1-800 TRAFIK will be available to report urgent traffic matters throughout Dublin so that they can be addressed by the relevant authorities.
An information website www.freeflow.ie will also exist for the duration of Operation Freeflow 2004 where up to date information will be posted.