A Fine Gael councillor has hit out at Ireland’s high rail fares and said they are discouraging people from using public transport.
Cllr Kevin Duffy said that for families in his part of Kildare it was far cheaper to drive up to Dublin for a day out than take the train:
“It’s more convenient these days to hop in your car when you consider you’ve already paid for your car and your diesel,” he explained to Lunchtime Live.
“And I accept that there is an inherent cost there but you drive up - and we did this a couple of weeks ago - and we parked [near] an event and it was seven euro.
“So you have that perception, that cost me seven euros to bring the family up to Dublin.
“I look at a train service which runs from Monasterevin [in Kildare], passes through Monasterevin and goes directly to Heuston station and you can get a combined ticket with the Luas into the city centre - that return fare would cost us €94.86.
“And in an environment where we’re really pushing for people to use public transport and we’re investing in public transport, it’s nearly nine times more expensive than the car and three, four times more expensive than a bus.
“It just doesn’t stack up.”
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In February the Government announced that it would reduce the cost of public transport fares by 20% across Bus Éireann, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, Go Ahead, Luas, DART and Local Link services.
However, Sarah, another Kildare resident, said she still thinks the fares are too high to justify regular train travel:
“We love taking the train up [to Dublin],” she said.
“It’s great but it is kind of nearly prohibitively expensive. We went up recently over Patrick’s Day weekend, just to go up and see what was on in town.
“Me, my husband and my son and it was €45 return nearly when you include the parking at the train station - just to go up for an hour or two.
“When we could fill the car and drive up and down for the week nearly.”
“It’s very convenient, it’s great but when we’re thinking about it as a day trip, it would be a rare option that we could choose to spend that much just for the day.
“It would cost us so much less to drive and we do prefer to take the train… Just on a personal level it’s difficult for us to justify paying €45 just to go up and down.”
Main image: Security staff walk the platforms at Heuston Station, Dublin in November 2017. Picture by: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo/Brian Lawless