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

Real-Time dislay for bues?!

Labour’s Transport Spokeswoman, Dr. Mary Upton has issued a press release calling on the ‘Dublin Bus and the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen, to develop a system to display real-time data about bus arrivals at bus stops around the capital.’

This is typical of Irish Politics. Focusing transport initiatives on the capital. When will they realise that the rest of the country needs these improvements also and may be better suited to testing the system! Im not sure how these would work as they will show how bad public transport, bus wise unlike the Luas which is up this year, is in Ireland especially if they show the timetabled time and the due time. The nearest city with these displays is Belfast so maybe they should be developed by Bus Eireann in Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford where there is large suburban bus networks.

Green Party proposes tram service for Cork


Well as I said this morning the Green Party have announced their policy for Transport in Cork

Green Party Leader Trevor Sargent TD said

“Transport 21 has left Cork pretty well out of the picture with regards to future high budget transport development programmes. Much of what is proposed for Cork under Transport 21 was either already underway or has been postponed indefinitely. Other projects such as the North Ring Route around the city and the badly needed bypass for Macroom have been delayed indefinitely as they are not Transport 21 priorities. Cork does not deserve this.”

On the issue of a LUAS type system for Cork, Green Party Cork South-Central TD Dan Boyle, said

“The Green Party proposes the development of a light rail system that would see a line connecting Ballincollig to Mahon via Cork City Centre. A spur line from Bishopstown incorporating the CIT and CorkUniversityHospital would join with this line. A second phase could see a light rail system being extended to Passage West and development of light rail for the Northside of Cork City. We have already seen the huge success of the Luas in Dublin and we believe Cork should see the next roll-out of this excellent public transport system.

Green Party Cork North-Central candidate Cllr Chris O’Leary called for a Harbour bus service to be introduced.

“Cork’s version of the waterbus could see it running from the lower harbour to the City’s main street and back again, servicing Ringaskiddy, Rochestown, Cobh and Mahon to name but a few. The environmentally friendly public transport system will also act to facilitate tourism in the area as well as providing a sustainable, workable and dedicated service in Cork.

Cork City Council are already conducting a feasability study into such a scheme.

On Local Railways,Green Party candidate for Cork East Sarah Iremonger said

“Local train links should not only go to Midleton but to Youghal and eventually onto Waterford. The existing rail link to Cobh should be upgraded with more trains running, more stops added, and train stations developed on the line with proper car parking facilities.”

Dan Boyle TD also called for more buses for Cork

“The Government’s recent provision of funding for 30 new buses for city bus services included 19 buses provided solely for replacement purposes. We need the same number of new buses again to improve the capacity of the service,” he concluded.

Interesting Stuff

Morning all,

Red Cardinal have a Report out on eGovernment Accessibility Analysis

The Green Party are launching their transport policy today for Cork today in the Clarion (via I cant find any details on the time of it on the Green Party’s Website or Dan Boyle’s Website

I also got mentioned on the Cross of St. George Forums for my post ‘If Scotland, NI and Wales have their own Legislatures Why Dosen’t England?

The Transport Minister, Seamus Brennan, has said their will not be a referendum before the next election (via RTÉ). So does that mean it will be on the same day as the Election or will be after it? If it is held on the day of the election it might increase voter turnout, just like at the last Local and European Elections in 2004.

Euronews aired a very interesting piece this morning on ‘What do Europeans think of their neighbours’. It raised a few interesting questions on forming identities and a privilged partnership arrangement for some applicant states like Turkey.

CIE Fare Increase – Tip of Rip off Ireland iceberg: Young FG

This weekend’s call by CIE for an increase of 9% in fares for bus, Dart and rail users has been slammed by Young Fine Gael President, Elizabeth Munnelly, as a “cynical and self serving attempt to rip off young Irish people”.

“This fare hike is completely unwarranted and unreasonable and will penalise thousands of young people who use public transport.

“Third level students are particularly vulnerable to this fare increase. It comes at a time when they face increased accommodation costs and an escalating cost of living. Mainline and Commuter Rail together with Dublin Bus are the most popular means of transport for young people, it will be impossible for young people to avoid being hit in the pocket as a result.

“The proposed fare hike is particularly hard to accept coming as it does at a time when international fuel prices are down by about 10% and is hard to justify when this current Government’s Transport 21 strategy is already running behind schedule”, added Munnelly.

“Young people have been crucified with stealth taxation and soaring prices in the lifetime of this government. The government is fuelling inflation and has increased prices in sectors which it has responsibility for by a rate of 52% over the last five years. The proposed CIE fare hike represents the latest tip of the Rip Off Ireland iceberg” added Munnelly,

What is new about Cullen’s bus pledge? – Mitchell

Well as bus drivers go on strike today (how am i going to get around I’ll have to walk!!:( ), FG have the following press release about Minister Cullen’s promises

Fine Gael Transport Spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell TD has ridiculed Martin Cullen’s commitment to provide additional vehicles to Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, describing it as the latest in a long line of hollow promises.

“There is no new proposal here for new buses, either on the Cabinet table or apparently between the Government parties. This issue has been discussed at Cabinet recently and there was an ideological logjam between Fianna Fáil and the PDs that blocked any new buses. Has that logjam now been cleared? I am very doubtful that it has. Indeed, CIÉ has confirmed to Fine Gael that it has received no notification that funding will be made available for new vehicles for Dublin Bus or Bus Éireann. Minister Cullen’s intervention is more about avoiding an unnecessary bus stoppage than a clear commitment to buy extra vehicles.

“It is also worth remembering that:

• The Minister has been promising an additional 200 vehicles for Dublin Bus for five years, but has been blocked repeatedly by the PDs at Cabinet level. Have the PDs done a U-turn on this issue, or will this proposal be blocked once again?

• It will cost around €30 million to purchase 100 Dublin Bus vehicles, and another €50 million for 160 Bus Éireann coaches. This money has not been allocated to the Department of Transport in the 2006 estimates and there is no supplementary estimate for this purpose. So the new vehicles cannot be purchased before the end of the year.

• None of these new vehicles will be available for immediate delivery, and it will take at least a year before any new buses or coaches are available for service. So not a single new bus will be available to Dublin Bus or Bus Éireann before the next general election, and probably not before 2008.

“This looks like just another hollow promise from Minister Cullen to prevent the strike from going ahead. The truth is that Government policy on public transport is likely to be brushed under the carpet until after the next election, with the travelling public conveniently forgotten. This is yet another example of the weak and indecisive government practiced by Fianna Fáil and the PDs.

“There is enough demand for bus services from both CIÉ and the private sector. Regulated competition in the bus network would improve services for the travelling public, and would not disadvantage Dublin Bus which has the experience to compete with private bus operators.

“The current public bus model is woefully inadequate to meet the needs of an expanding city like Dublin and an expanding national population. CIÉ has been struggling for years with an outdated and under-resourced fleet of vehicles because Fianna Fáil and the PDs cannot make up their minds on how to reform the bus market.

“The travelling public has borne the brunt of this fudge. Car use has rocketed in the absence of new bus routes, while services on existing routes have not kept pace with demand. Dublin Bus carried the same number of passengers in the peak rush hour in 2004 as it did in 1997. Private bus operators are prevented from opening new routes which the public is crying out for, particularly in the new urban areas which have sprung up around Dublin. Their frustration is all the greater when they see the brand new bus lanes which are largely empty, or in some cases never see a bus at all.

“Earlier this year Fine Gael produced a comprehensive policy document on bus services, A Better Route. This calls for the Dublin bus market to be opened up to new operators to increase and improve services, when and where they are needed. A similar approach adopted in London saw passenger journeys increase four-fold in a few years. This type of change would radically transform the bus market in Dublin and mark a huge shift in use of public transport.”