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The Taoiseach and his Cabinet travelled to the launch of the government's Climate Action Plan in a hybrid bus.
The Taoiseach and his Cabinet travelled to the launch of the government's Climate Action Plan in a hybrid bus.
Image: Niall Carson

Free public transport ruled out despite Dublin being 'the slowest city centre in Europe'

Luxembourg rolled out free public transport last year.
Jun 18th 2019, 7:00 AM 28,412 94

“FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORT is not contemplated at the moment”, Transport Minister Shane Ross said yesterday.

The government published its Climate Action Plan yesterday, setting out a roadmap for Ireland and how it is going to meet its greenhouse gas targets.

Minister for Communications Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton launched the report alongside his ministerial colleagues and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 

Rolling out more electric cars, tackling single-use plastics, and retrofitting homes are just some of the measures included in the plan.

However, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said there is nothing significant about transport contained in the document.

TheJournal.ie asked Minister Ross and the Taoiseach why something as radical as free public transport was not considered as part of the plan, however both ruled it out as a possibility.

Leo Varadkar said he would like to do it, stating “it would be great if we could make public transport free”, but added that if everyone was to get free transport there would be “serious capacity issues”.

As a TD from a commuter area, he would be mindful of adding additional numbers to the public transport fleet, he said.

He added that such a move would cost “hundreds of millions” of Euro each year.

Luxembourg, which suffers from some of the worst congestion in the world – announced last year that it would introduce free public transport.

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Earlier this year, a report by Inrix, a global company that specialises in transportation analytics, found that Dublin was the slowest city in all of Europe, with drivers spending around 246 hours in traffic in 2018, and travelling at speeds as low as 6 mph.

Ryan said transport is the “weakest link” in the government’s new plan, adding that while he welcomed some of the initiatives, he did not believe the report was ambitious enough.

He said that the government needs to switch to a 2:1 ratio of investment in public transport over roads and called for 20% of the transport budget to go towards walking and cycling initiatives.

The Green Party leader said he also would have liked to see the government encourage a system of car-sharing, similar to the one that has been rolled out in Berlin.

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