Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor John Brady has described the latest fare increases on bus, rail and the LUAS as a major disincentive that will force more people to use their cars. He said the increases are a direct result of Fine Gael, Labour budget cut of €17 million subsidy to CIE.
Speaking after the National Transport Authority gave the go ahead for the hikes Cllr Brady said “In the recent budget Fine Gael and Labour cut €17 million from the subsidy which is given to CIE, so it was inevitable that fare would increase as a direct result of the cuts. Average cash fares will rise by more than 8 per cent from, while annual and monthly tickets will increase by some 10 per cent from .”
Brady continued ““Public transport has been under funded in this state for a very long time and certainly never treated as the incredibly important public service that it is. Buses and trains carry far more people, more efficiently and faster than private transport when given the right planning and funding. A good system of buses can create a hub of business in urban centres and improve our competitiveness. Instead the government is implementing a policy it freely admits is bad for public transport. What is bad for public transport is bad for our economy.”
“These new fare increases will further turn people off public transport which is seen as expensive and lacking the benefits seen in other European cities. Too many people are opting for their cars because the services of Bus Éireann, Iarnróid Éireann and Dublin Bus are being run down and made unattractive by government policy. Cutting funding and forcing the dwindling passengers to foot more of the bill might look good on the department’s budget plan but it will lead to serious problems in the future and damage our ability to build lasting economic prosperity.”
Cllr Brady concluded “I believe the fare increases are just the first direct impact of the government cuts to public transport. What we will also witness now will be the continued decimation and dismantling of bus routes. Unfortunately here in Wicklow communities have been in the direct firing line of this with routes such as the Bus Éireann 133, Dublin Bus routes 45a, 185, 84, 145 all being targeted as well as a reduction in the carrying capacity on the DART's. We need investment in our public transport, not cuts.”