Car parking and ease of access to stations is a growing issue with the ever-growing sprawl. Rail Users Ireland believes that the current philosophy of ever expanding car parks is unsustainable in terms of both cost and availability of land and fails to resolve the fundamental issue, people drive since they have no other way to get to the station. Matters where bad enough, then Irish Rail decided to charge for parking...
Station car parking is consistently in the top 3 issues reported to Rail Users Ireland, availability of spaces, security and safety are the key issues.
These charges will generate less than 0.5% of Irish Rail revenue
With a maximum of €1 million revenue going to Irish Rail, it doesn't seem to even worth the trouble, would Irish Rail's time and effort be better spent on providing the actual rail service as published in the timetable instead of pushing away passengers? We think so.
Join With Us And Fight Car Parking Charges!
Register your disgust at being ripped off by Irish Rail and help fight car parking charges. Download the following letter template, complete it and send it to your local TD. Tell your TD that you are sick of being fleeced for poor service on Irish Rail.
Local Bus Services - The Only Way Forward
A more sustainable solution is the free town bus service. Such are common in Europe, allowing residents to access the town centre and amenities as well as the train station without the need to resort to cars. This avoids the need for massive car parks and reduces local traffic. Of course Irish Rail can't even be trusted with such a simple project as any user of the connecting bus at Sallins and Hazelhatch will testify. With sky rocketing oil prices the connecting bus service will become the only feasible solution.
As you can see, at times parking at stations can be little better than a muddy field nearby. Irish Rail failed in this case to provide sufficient space in the station car park, Dublin Bus helped out as well by providing a pathetic local bus service.
Current stated CIE board policy is to apply a charge for all new or extended station car parks. This was quietly changed to all car parks regardless of conditions. This goes against the entire principle of providing parking at stations, to get people out of their cars. With fares outside Dublin already rightly considered excessive, charging for parking is yet another reason for driving instead of letting the train take the strain. Of course whats left of CIE spends most of its time in property development, not in the sensible coordination of its three subsidiaries to best serve the public.
Local rail user groups have been held to ransom by Irish Rail with threats that planned car park expansions will be cancelled unless a parking charge is accepted. Irish Rail receive over 450,000 euro per day in subsidy and have all capital costs paid for by the state, so why is the passenger paying for the car parking? There is even a special fund available to pay for park and ride facilities.
Irish Rail have applied no sense to car parking
- Unlike the Luas it is not possible to purchase a combined rail and parking ticket. Irish Rail passengers are left at a disadvantage despite combined tickets being policy of the former Dublin Transport Office. We have proposed this to Irish Rail, who apparently are looking into it. Hardly a complex problem to solve.
- Parking charges were introduced apparently to discourage use by non rail passengers. How charging for Templemore, nearly a mile from the town achieves this is questionable. In Cork, station car parks lie empty with cars parked on local roads instead of the car park paid for by the state.
- Passengers should only pay a charge if something more than the basic car park space is provided. Many commuters will happily pay the current charges if a physical security presence was provided on site. Irish Rail have steadfastly refused to agree to this, despite the fact theft and vandalism are serious ongoing issues at many station car parks.
Irish Rail's Response
In light of Irish Rail's intentions to charge at car parks on the new Clonsilla Pace rail line, Rail Users Ireland filed an objection in October 2007. Rail Users Ireland's position is clear, car park charging is not acceptable. Following consultation at public meetings we are aware that Irish Rail have no intention to back down and will force the charges through regardless of public opinion. If the passenger is going to be left with no choice but to pay, the least we can expect is a physical security presence and ability to claim tax relief.
Irish Rail clearly indicate that the charge is only for the upkeep of the car park, not the capital costs and that the charging policy is indiscriminate, every station.