A Fine Gael senator has said he's "deeply annoyed and frustrated" after transport officials confirmed plans for a flexible Taxsaver ticket for commuters have been delayed indefinitely.
It had been hoped a scheme would allow hybrid employees avail of the Taxsaver ticket for public transport on the days they go into the workplace.
Traditionally, Taxsaver tickets have been sold as monthly or annual passes - allowing commuters to save between 31-52% on their journeys.
However, a shift to 'hybrid' working models will likely see many people commuting fewer times per week, meaning a five-day ticket is no longer needed.
There have been calls for a 'flexi' ticket to be introduced as a result, with Fine Gael Senator John McGahon being told the National Transport Authority was planning to introduce one at the end of Q1 or start of Q2 of 2022.
However, the NTA says developing a three or two-day Taxsaver option has become "considerably more complex" than initially envisaged.
Senator McGahon, speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, said he's "deeply frustrated and annoyed" about this latest development.
He said: "What I'm deeply frustrated about is after the 18 months of very positive messages from the NTA to say they would introduce it... now at the eleventh hour they've pulled the plug on this.
"Just to be clear... we've had 18 months where legislation has been passed in a matter of hours. We've introduced things like the PUP overnight.
"This is a Taxsaver ticket that should be introduced regardless of whether a pandemic even existed or not."
He claimed he's "lost all faith and trust" in the NTA following the update, given their previous positive messages about the prospect of a 'flexi' ticket.
He added there's "absolutely no way" he's giving up on pushing for a flexible commuter pass.
In a statement, the NTA says it recognises that a "new approach to incentivise longer distance commuters to use public transport is required".
They said: "It is becoming increasingly clear that a significant number of public transport commuters are seeking a range of products that will support a range of hybrid work patterns.
“During 2021 NTA identified a possible flexible Taxsaver product approach that was initially anticipated could be developed relatively quickly.
"However, following extensive discussions with the partners required to deliver this solution it became clear it was considerably more complex than initially envisaged.
“NTA is currently in discussions with its partners and with the Department of Transport reviewing options to delivering products suitable for flexible working arrangements that can be introduced as soon as possible."
The NTA adds that during the pandemic they extended annual passes by six months and also "accommodated large numbers of Taxsaver customers who sought refunds for their Taxsaver tickets".