It is too early for any trial of free public transport as the system needs too much work.
That is according to Geraldine Herbert, Motoring Editor with The Sunday Independent.
She was speaking after an independent report, commissioned by the National Transport Authority (NTA), found free public transport would result in just a 1% reduction in car travel.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has also suggested free public transport would see "an increased level of unnecessary trips."
Ms Herbert told The Hard Shoulder more people would use free public transport, but not enough to justify the cost.
"It's the idea that if you introduce free public transport it does increase the number of people using it," she said.
"The problem is the research backs up that when fares are removed, it's only a small number of people who previously travelled by car make the switch.
"Overwhelmingly the new passenger numbers come from people who might have walked, cycled or not travelled otherwise.
"In our case it's a huge amount of money to invest in very little return if its [aim is a] reduce in car usage.
"I think the figure is €540m for free public transport in Ireland - you could spend that much more wisely and, I would have thought, reduce car usage by more than 1% or 2%.
"So I think it's a matter of looking at the resources we have and deciding what's the best way of spending it".
'Security on trains and buses'
Ms Herbert said safety is another big concern.
"If you remember back to 2020, the report 'Travelling in a Woman's Shoes', found that more than half of the women who were surveyed would not use public transport at night," she said.
"Basic improvements could be made to train stations and bus shelters to make them safe - visible places with decent lighting, CCTV.
"Also we need people on the ground: security staff on trains and buses would be a big improvement.
"I think if we were going to spend that sort of money, apart from improving public transport overall, improve the safety and the quality of it for everyone".
She said it is too early to even entertain a trial of free transport.
"There's huge amounts of issues with the transport system at the moment, apart from the capacity [and] the frequency," she said.
"It's not properly integrated, it needs a massive investment.
"I think you would run the risk of people, who haven't been on public transport in years, trying it out and thinking, 'It's even worse than I remember'.
"That's how bad it is at the moment," she added.
Listen to the full segment below: