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Poor investment and planning to blame for rush hour overcrowding, not travel pass holders - Imelda Munster TD

20 June, 2018 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport, Imelda Munster TD has today criticised a suggestion that Travel Pass holders be banned from using public transport during rush hour.

Deputy Munster was speaking after reports that Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt, has floated an idea to ban holders of the free travel pass from public transport during rush hour.

Deputy Munster said:

“This suggestion is draconian and outrageous.

“Public transport isn’t at capacity because of free travel pass holders. It’s overcrowded because of poor investment and poor planning by successive governments.

“Mr Watt’s remarks are indicative of a worrying attitude towards public transport by the state. The state has reduced funding and has refused to invest in public transport for decades.

"This has left Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann in precarious financial positions, and our public transport services are suffering.

"Poor planning and investment in infrastructure for decades in Dublin has led to significant overcrowding on public transport in the city.

“Mr Watt does not seem to understand that public transport is a public service. Every member of the public is entitled to make use of that service.

"It’s not about profit, and it’s certainly not about banning people who might not be deemed important enough by Mr Watt to travel during rush hour.

“How does Mr Watt propose that an elderly person or a person with a disability attend an appointment if they do not drive?

“The elderly and people with disabilities are groups that are at risk of isolation and poverty.

"This week research from the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative showed that two almost a third of elderly people have difficulties accessing public transport, with up to 68% in rural areas experiencing this issue.

“Perhaps Mr Watt should ensure adequate investment in public transport and leave travel pass holders alone.”

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