Ambition and investment required for future of public transport – Munster
Speaking today at a debate hosted by the NBRU in Dunboyne, Co. Meath on the Future of Public Transport, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD stressed the need for ambitious vision and strategic investment as we plan for the future of our public transport services across the island.
Deputy Munster said:
“Public transport is the most effective way to reduce traffic congestion, improve local and larger economies, and link communities. It also plays an important role in reducing emissions in the coming years.
“Having a first class public transport system will solve a myriad of transport problems. In order to build such a service, we need increased capital investment and an increase in state subvention. I would like to see the creation of proper transport hubs, high speed rail lines, and a service that links communities and cities north and south of the border.
“I hope that Minister for Transport Shane Ross will put the transport needs of the people first and not the interests of private enterprise. We need an ambitious plan going forward to remedy the damage done during the recession when services were left to crumble. Perhaps the most pressing challenge today is that faced by Iarnród Éireann, which through years of underinvestment and gross neglect, has been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that passenger safety may be compromised.”
Deputy Munster also cautioned against the continuation of the apparent privatisation agenda of government and the National Transport Authority.
“Public transport is a public service, and cannot be expected to be always profit making. The service provided is so important in connecting people and communities, and plays an important role linking rural Ireland and urban centres.
“I fear that the 10% of Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus routes already put out to tender is only the beginning of what will be a disastrous privatisation project. We need to keep public transport in public ownership and we need to invest in the service to ensure that it can improve. Currently, there are over 93,000 households, and that is a conservative estimate, who do not have access to public transport, and we know that there are many people who have disabilities and do not have access to transport. We need to invest in these services to ensure that everyone has access to transport and nobody is left behind.”