Luas congestion charge will penalise workers & force them back into cars – Mitchell

Decision will set precedent for hikes on bus, DART and rail tickets. Fine Gael Transport Spokesperson Olivia Mitchell TD has described the decision to introduce a congestion charge for morning rush hour LUAS customers as ‘outrageous’. She was speaking after the Rail Procurement Agency confirmed that an extra charge of 10 cent will be imposed on tickets between 7.45am and 9.30am.

‘It is completely unacceptable to have congestion charging introduced into this country without any prior notice or public debate. This is a completely new departure in public transport pricing policy, and is also the thin edge of the wedge for all commuters. Higher peak hour charges will undoubtedly follow for bus, DART and main rail services, all of which are equally congested at peak times. Like congestion charges elsewhere this charge will continue to rise over time.

‘A fare increase like this is counterproductive, because it will discourage the use of public transport and force passengers back into their cars. It assumes that commuters have alternatives, and that they can and will vary their work hours and departure times to avoid the 10 cent surcharge. It assumes that commuters enjoy and consciously choose to travel in congested carriages. The reality is that the lives of most workers are restricted, not just by their working hours but also by family considerations, such as the need to bring children to crèches and schools.

‘In many cases commuters simply cannot vary their departure times to avoid the LUAS morning peak period. To suggest they should leave earlier and ‘have a cup of coffee’ before going to work is simply an insult and an extra cost for hard-pressed commuters.

‘This exercise can only be seen as revenue-raising, rather than a genuine attempt to deal with overcrowding. Instead of using price differentiation to penalise workers, the Government should provide extra peak hour trams and liberalise the bus market to increase public transport capacity.

‘LUAS customers have been unanimous in their delight with the service so far. It is a real slap in the face to their most loyal daily users to single them out for this odious charge.’

I don’t get why they are introducing it? LUAS is paying for itself so therefore its profiteering. This is the time of day it is supposed to be used, so we dont have traffic gridlock on the streets of Dublin

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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