Fare game for public transport?

Well I just noticed scrolling past the ticker on the TV3 news just now that the fares are set to got up on the Luas and then followed by all other public transport. Is this some kind of a joke? Only days after Noel Dempsey does his about turn and encourages people to use the car less they put up the fares! He was talking after the announcement that 29 million passengers used the Luas in 2007, a rise of 3 million since the previous year.

And this is what he said..

“These passenger figures for Luas are very encouraging. It’s further proof that if you make reliable, top quality public transport available to the public then it will be used. In 2008 I want to see more quality public transport coming on stream so that people can start making the switch from cars to public transport with ease. Freeing up our city centres from severe congestion is vital for economic growth and for improved quality of life. Reliable public transport will play a central role in addressing this issue. Under Transport 21 we have ambitious plans in the area of public transport. We will deliver seven extra Luas services, two new Metro lines and increased heavy rail and bus capacity. This will make an immediate difference to the public and for the first time offer real alternatives to the car.”

The day before this there was an article in the Independent about a new initiative for sustainable transport by 2016.

A public information campaign will be launched similar to the Power of One campaign or the Race Against Waste.
Mr Dempsey says the plan is about getting people out of cars and into public transport, walking and cycling.
He said: “If we keep our current travel patterns by allowing business as usual and let cars continue to pour onto our streets then traffic congestion will increase, quality of life will fall, economic progress will be impacted negatively and our greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow.”

He sounds like he would make a good Minister for the Environment, doesn’t he?!

Remember, this is the same chap who handed in NO expenses for public transport in a total of €155 by ministers. I don’t know what the time period for that was, but it’s a disgrace no less, as reported in this article via the Irish Examiner from two months ago. Practice what you preach Nollaig!

Of course I can’t resist a jibe at the M3 plans. While ignoring decent alternatives which would make things better for everyone they press on digging up our heritage in the Tara-Skyrne valley and desperately attempting to cover-up their huge error of judgment. The (already existing) railway line should have been (and should still be) the priority in this case.

See the thing that really bugs me about this is that I agree that public transport is an important service that needs to be provided. The reliance on the car has to end, for many many reasons. But public transport needs to attract people to use it. The fares need to be cheaper in order to encourage people to use them. If more people use them, more money is made anyway and the environment is that bit better off.

There is so much of these token gesture speeches given by governments to warm public opinion, but in reality is is hypocrisy when weighed up with their actions.

road sign joke