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THE MORNING LEAD

Bus and rail fare increases in Cavan, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath slammed by TDs

Bray-Greystones rail service fare will increase by 15%, while fares on the Kilcock-Dublin bus service will increase by 20%.

INCREASES IN PUBLIC transport fares for areas in Cavan, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath will discourage commuters from using bus and rail services, according to local representatives. 

Some public transport routes will see increases in fares this year, the National Transport Authority announced yesterday. 

Under the plans for public transport fares for 2024, adults will still be able to travel around Dublin for €2 as part of the TFI 90-minute fare, which has also been expanded out to commuter regions. 

However, looking at the price hikes announced, the Cavan-Dublin bus service will see its fare increase by 21% from €9.45 to €11.40, while the Ratoath-Ashbourne bus service will see its fares increase by 30% from €1.54 to €2. 

Fares on the Kilcock-Dublin bus service will increase by 20% from €3.08 to €3.70 and fares on the Drogheda-Dublin Airport bus service will increase by 16% from €4.55 to €5.30. 

The Bray-Greystones rail service fare will increase by 15% from €2 to €2.30.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has defended the new fare structure for public transport, telling The Journal that it is not a revenue raising exercise. 

However, the fare increases have been slammed by some TDs such as Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth and Social Democrats TD for Wicklow Jennifer Whitmore.

Whitmore said the increase in fares for people in Greystones who use the rail service makes no sense at a time when the government is encouraging people to use public transport.

‘Disappointing’ 

“It’s very disappointing to hear of fare increases for some public transport today such as Greystones to Bray, and I believe there’s a real risk that this increase will just encourage commuters back into their cars.

“It is the opposite of the Governments proclaimed position of trying to reduce private car usage, and reduce emissions. Surely, if Government were serious about that, they would be looking to make all fares cheaper and not a select few?”

Smyth called the move “counterproductive”, stating that it will “push hard-pushed people who are doing their best to be climate conscious by using the minimal public transport service available to them”. 

“I would call on the National Transport Authority to rethink this because this move will set us back further on the government agenda to encourage commuters to use the bus service in the absence of any other options available to them. It will push them back into cars, creating further gridlock in towns like Virginia that are 10 years out from a bypass,” she told this publication. 

Peter Melrose, who is running as a local election candidate in Maynooth for the Social Democrats, told The Journal that the online platforms for the Kilcock area in Kildare are already lighting up with people criticising the decision to increase fares by 20%. 

He said he found the decision to raise fares “incredible” when the government is actively trying to encourage people to leave their cars at home. Kilcock has fast become a commuter town, but the infrastructure has not followed, he said. 

Melrose said the area suffers from an unreliable bus service where buses often disappear from the bus stop display and never show up, stating that locals are in disbelief that they will now have to pay more money for that service. 

“While other commuter towns are seeing a decrease in their fares, Kilcock is seeing an increase, and that is really going to annoy people very much,” he said. 

Defending the fare structure, the transport minister said the new fare structure will mean that over 82% of passengers will see no change or a decrease in their bus or train fares.

He said the change is about “making fares much fairer, more consistent and easier to understand”.

“With this equalisation, there are some towns where fares will go up. We have worked really hard to try to ease the burden for frequent commuters in many of these towns and as an interim measure for the next year or so, people travelling most days will continue to be able to use the existing weekly Leap ticket, so that they will see little or no difference in what they are paying now,” said the minister. 

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