Traffic news radio station could become permanent
Travel FM, Dublin’s newest radio station providing 24-hour traffic information, could become a permanent service if it proves successful, according to the station’s organisers.
Mr Owen Keegan, director of traffic for Dublin Corporation, which is running the temporary station along with the Garda, said that “having put so much effort into developing this, obviously we hope it will have some sort of future”. They would first have to prove there was a demand from motorists for the service.
The station, which has cost £125,000 to develop, will begin broadcasting next Monday. It will operate on a pilot basis for eight weeks on 106.8 FM.
Using Corporation CCTV cameras and the Garda helicopter, the station will provide information on traffic congestion and accidents, delays caused by special events such as football matches or concerts and parking availability in multi-storey car parks.
It will also broadcast reports from Aer Rianta on traffic conditions and parking availability at Dublin Airport, and details of Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann suburban rail and DART services, as well as information on ferry sailings into Dublin Port and Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
Announcing the station yesterday, Mr Keegan said it might, in the future, provide other public service information from warnings on water shortages to details on the playability of corporation football pitches.
He stressed it was “not an entertainment channel” but it would broadcast music during off-peak hours, between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Rather than providing the information through live presenters, the station will use pre-recorded voices. Thousands of traffic-related words and phrases have already been saved on computer and will be pieced together to provide continuous reports.
While the corporation paid tribute to AA Roadwatch for making “a major contribution” to improving access to traffic information, it said the motoring body was able to provide only limited reports because of restricted broadcasting times. In addition, there could be significant delays in broadcasting relevant information. Mr Keegan encouraged other radio stations to use the information from Travel FM if they wished.
The Garda Commissioner, Mr Pat Byrne, said the initiative would not put any extra strain on the Garda helicopter or on gardai who will be asked to provide traffic information to a central unit. “If there was some urgent operation the helicopter would be immediately deployed to deal with it,” he stressed.