Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Dessie Ellis TD has blasted the announcement of further fare increases in Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Iarnróid Éireann as another in a series of critical blows to public transport.
He made his comments following the announcement that fares will go up between 2.5 and 10 per cent despite the Minister for Transport admitting earlier this year that fare increases were hurting services like Dublin Bus as people sought other options.
Deputy Ellis continued;
“Public transport has been under funded in this state for a very long time and certainly never treated as the incredibly important public service that it is.
“Busses and trains carry far more people, more efficiently and faster than private transport when given the right planning and funding. A good system of busses can create a hub of business in urban centres and improve our competitiveness. Instead the government is implementing a policy it freely admits is bad for public transport. What is bad for public transport is bad for our economy.
“Fare increases will further turn people off public transport which is seen as expensive and lacking the benefits seen in other European cities. Too many working people in urban centres or commuter towns are opting for private transport because the services of Bus Éireann, Iarnróid Éireann and Dublin Bus are being run down and made unattractive by government policy.
“We need to make public transport more affordable at the point of delivery. One measure is to further incentivise the use of prepaid bus tickets and expand the flexibility of these tickets. We also need to look at other fare models from similarly sized cities where public transport is nearly always the first option in built up areas.
“Cutting funding and forcing the dwindling passengers to foot more of the bill might look good on the department’s budget plan but it will lead to serious problems in the future and damage our ability to build lasting economic prosperity.”