Drop in public transport use worrying trend
Sinn Féin Regional Development Spokesperson, Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has said that the latest Transport Quarterly Statistics published today make worrying reading.
Mr McCartney said:
"Despite an increase in revenue from bus and train use there is a drop in both the number of weekly bus journeys and the weekly rail passenger miles.
"We are not getting the message across about the benefits of public transport. As a result our road system comes to a shuddering halt on a daily basis. This is because we have not had the investment in public transport that can deliver the quality service that can is attractive and can encourage people out of their cars.
"The future of public transport must not be held hostage to short-term thinking because this will not lead to the creation of a genuine regional transport strategy. Economic and social development, particularly for the North West, requires a major expansion of public transport including rail.
"Trains are a faster, less polluting and safer form of transport and rail has an important role in any future sustainable transport system for people and freight. This requires an expansion of the current network to provide fast intercity links between the major cities throughout Ireland and reliable and a safe freight transport system. NIR is one of the world's smallest publicly owned and operated passenger railways. This creates huge disadvantages in terms of economies of scale. We believe that the creation of a unitary Irish railway system can unlock the huge potential of rail.
"The absence of freight services on the NIR system is a disgrace, in terms of both economic viability and environmental impact, particularly when Iarnród Éireann carries over three million tonnes of freight per annum. We need a major expansion of rail freight transport throughout the island linking all the major centres of population and ports." ENDS