Proposals on extension of short hop zone to all of Kildare must be published without delay
Labour Kildare South Senator Mark Wall has demanded that the Minister of Transport Eamon Ryan bring clarity to the people of Kildare on the extension of the short hop zone to all of the county.
Under questioning from Senator Wall in the Seanad yesterday (Thursday, 23rd February), Minister Ryan confirmed that proposals would be published in the coming weeks to address this current discrepancy in transport policy and help Kildare commuters.
Senator Wall said:
“I have raised the need to extend the short hop zone with the Minister for Transport on numerous occasions however today was the first sight of white smoke from the Department that proposals are forthcoming. For too long, there has been an incongruous situation arising in county Kildare where some residents are more equal than others.
“As it currently stands, 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. It’s ridiculous.
“Rather than encouraging people to opt for public transport where possible, thus far, Minister Ryan has been penalising people in Kildare. Many people are opting to drive that extra distance to benefit from the savings that come from travelling from Sallins. Who can blame them when they are saving up to €200 per month. Introducing a single fare price for Kildare commuters would be a huge signal from government that they are serious about tackling the financial and climate cost of transport.
“We have seen the huge benefits that the short hop zone fare can have. In Mallow, after huge campaigning by my colleague Deputy Seán Sherlock, commuters have come in their droves to use the train service. It’s good for commuters, good for communities, good for climate.
“If we are serious about tackling climate change and promoting public transport, then commuter areas like county Kildare must have access to a single pricing fare and encourage commuters onto trains not roads.“