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Smart and ambitious investment in public transport a no-brainer – Doherty

6th June 2023 - Regina Doherty

Fine Gael’s Transport Spokesperson has highlighted the need to improve public transport connectivity, and to provide viable options for commuters across Ireland.

Senator Regina Doherty said: “Data from the Central Statistics Office, released last week, showed that the amount of people commuting to work by car has actually increased; it has gone up by around 4%.

“While that is clearly a step in the wrong direction in terms of meeting our climate targets, I don’t blame people for taking the car. For so many, particularly outside Dublin, the public transport options are simply not there.

“What is the point in encouraging people to ditch their cars when there is barely an alternative there for them?

“My own constituency of Dublin Fingal is right on the doorstep of our capital city. Yet it is perhaps a case study of a region where the extent of our public transport network is not meeting demand.

“We are not being ambitious enough in terms of bus connectivity and this is evident in North County Dublin. The majority of the rapidly-growing town of Balbriggan is not served by a standard bus service, with the 33 and 33a routes terminating at the southern tip of the town.

“I have engaged with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the team in BusConnects to ensure that any future bus routes serve the communities of north and north-west Balbriggan.

“So many of our rural villages are also crying out for bus services, such as LocalLink, which has served various communities so well in the North Dublin, Meath and Louth areas. If you live in rural Ireland, owning a car is almost essential. We need to provide alternatives to people in all parts of the country.

“Incentivising public transport also means making it cheaper. I have long been campaigning for fare discrepancies to be resolved for train-users in Skerries and Balbriggan, who pay more than anyone else in the Dublin region. While I welcome the NTA’s plans to revise the fare scheme, it must be done in a way that is sensible and fair.

“I also intend to keep pressure on the Transport Minister, Eamon Ryan, to ensure that the long-overdue MetroLink project – to serve Swords and Dublin Airport – is delivered as a matter of utmost priority and not kicked further down the road.

“With projections from the Environmental Protection Agency signalling that Ireland is set to fall short of its climate targets – with a reduction of 29% in Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2030 compared to a target of 51% – smart and ambitious investment in public transport is a no-brainer.

“I am calling on Minister Eamon Ryan to do more to ensure that people in every part of our country are given better transport options. Not only will it cut emissions, it will tackle isolation, reduce road congestion, improve productivity and bring economic benefits to strengthen communities,” concluded Senator Doherty.


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