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Phasing out public sector parking spaces cannot go ahead without adequate public transport links – McGahon

22nd May 2023 - Senator John McGahon

Proposals which will see the phasing out of parking spaces for public sector workers cannot go ahead until proper public transport options are in place in all parts of the country, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator John McGahon, Fine Gael’s Seanad Climate Action Spokesperson, was speaking following the decision of a new public sector mandate to assist the public sector in being a leader in reducing Ireland’s emissions.

Senator McGahon said “We all want to see a model shift towards public transport where people in both urban and rural communities have quality public transport and a good degree of options.

“Nobody wants to spend hours on end in cars commuting, but at present, that’s what many people are having to do because they don’t have the same public transport options yet.

“Removing car parking spaces for public sector workers will only punish those who do not have viable public transport options. We can only start scaling back on car use when proper alternatives are provided.

“For example, the National Transport Authority (NTA )have failed to introduce a flexible tax saver ticket for commuters nationwide. Despite announcing the imminent introduction of a ticket, they then found it wasn’t feasible because of the old and varying types of ticket machines across buses and trains,” Senator McGahon said.

The NTA have said that it is years away from introducing tap on charges for buses, despite it being introduced in the UK over a decade ago.

“In June 2022, the NTA said we would be all tapping on buses with our bank cards by the end of 2023. Fast forward 10 months and the NTA are saying it will be ‘years away’ and their ticket systems are ‘too old’ to deal with contactless payments.

“When we look towards our nearest neighbours, the UK, they have been using contactless for over a decade.

“Dublin is one of the few cities that has a bike scheme, and even at that, it is only available in the city centre between the two canals.

“Other councils around the country are only starting the process of considering bike sharing schemes. Equally, we are still waiting on legislation to progress to legalise E-Scooters on our roads. E-Scooters and Bike Sharing schemes will undoubtedly help with that model shift in our towns and cities.

“Everyone wants shorter commutes and less cars on the road are a good thing, but we will only achieve that model shift once public transport is accessible to urban and rural communities alike.

“Removing car parking spaces before that happens will only frustrate people as opposing to convincing them that this is the way forward,” Senator McGahon concluded.

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