Single pricing fare needed for commuter belt
Labour Senator Mark Wall has called for a single pricing fare for the commuter belt up to and including Kildare South to make public transport more affordable and more accessible for commuting students and workers. Reiterating the need to change the culture of public transport, Senator Wall said we cannot allow our motorways to turn into carparks again.
Senator Wall said:
“The Dublin Transport Strategy consultation is hugely welcome, but we need to see this review extended outside of Dublin and into other commuter areas to address the cost of public transport experienced by commuters. I have raised the need to extend the short hop zone with the Minister for Transport on numerous occasions however he continues to defer to the NTA on pricing. If we are to change Ireland’s attitude to public transport in light of the climate crisis, then we need to make it affordable. Introducing a single fare price for commuters would be a huge signal from government that they are serious about tackling the financial and climate cost of transport.
“Right now, we have an incongruous situation arising in county Kildare. The short hop zone extends to Sallins in Kildare but does not extend to the other four stations in Kildare which operate under a different rail pricing structure. It is 13kms from Newbridge to Sallins, taking an average of 12 minutes by train. But a rail ticket from Newbridge to Dublin, compared to Sallins to Dublin, can cost €3.80 with a leap card from Sallins compared to €13.55 from Newbridge one way.
“We are seeing commuters driving from towns like Newbridge to avail of the short hop zone prices – who can blame them when they are saving up to €200 per month, even with the increase in car fuel prices. I am calling on government to introduce a single price fare and give commuters a break.
“If we are serious about tackling climate change and promoting public transport, then commuter areas like Newbridge must have access to a single pricing fare before our motorways are turn into carparks once again. Indeed, the population of Newbridge has increased due to many people either opting to move due to the increase of flexible work or due to being priced out of the city. We need to encourage these commuters onto trains not roads.
“This week, the CSO confirmed that transport is one of the biggest drivers of the increased cost of living. Government should be focusing on making public transport more accessible and affordable. People in Kildare South are feeling it in their pockets and we need to see common sense applied. We need to entice as many people in the country onto public transport if we are serious about achieving our climate targets.”