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Media Activity 2008

Monday November 24th

Today FM - Last Word

The CIE group is to lose over €130 million in 2009, as a result large scale cut backs are proposed together with substantial fare increases. Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland, Councillor Malcolm Byrne Goery and Matt Cooper as always in the chair. CIE declined to comment

Monday Sept 29th

Today FM - Last Word

Following the story published in the Sunday Tribune highlighting the significant number of empty trains running around the country. Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland, Jane Cregan for Irish Rail and Matt Cooper as always in the chair.

Listen

Metro

Front page coverage, following the story published in the Sunday Tribune highlighting the significant number of empty trains.

Sunday Sept 28th

Sunday Tribune

Shock news that over 500,000km of empty trains are run per annum by Irish Rail, empty trains running at times where there is demand.

Wednesday Sept 24th

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport

Rail Users Ireland's newsletter, The Passenger is quoted in a debate on car parking charges

Monday Sept 1st

Herald AM

More coverage of the introduction of car parking charges

Sunday August 30th

Irish Times Online

Park-and-ride charges from tomorrow
Controversial park-and-ride charges at nine commuter train stations come into effect from tomorrow.
Dublin bound rail travellers on the northern line from Dundalk to Portmarnock will be hit with the two euro a day fee.
The other 28 stations from Longford to Gorey also planning to charge will be operational by November.
The plan, which transport body CIE said would finance a car-park expansion scheme, was heavily criticised when it was announced in July with transport lobby groups branding it unacceptable.
Mark Gleeson, spokesman for Rail Users Ireland, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“People are going to arrive in the car park tomorrow morning and they are going to be faced with a pay and display machine.
“It’s bad enough that you have to pay for your ticket but now you have to queue to use a pay and display machine.
“The worst thing of all is that you elect to be cost aware and buy a weekly ticket, but there’s no guarantee there’s going to be a car space for you every day.”
CIE will receive a €1 million euro-a-year slice of the revenue generated from the parking fees with commuters charged two euro a day or a discounted rate of €8 a week.
The body said the revenue would be put towards a major programme of car park expansion by Iarnrod Eireann.
But Mr Gleeson hit out the justification claiming the organisation has not detailed which stations will be upgraded.
“Irish rail have presented no list of what car parks will be upgraded or in what order and what it will comprise. It’s all aspirational,” he said.
Rail Users Ireland said it is considering taking legal action against CIE over the scheme although it is not clear on what that will be based.
Fine Gael’s Transport spokesman Fergus O’Dowd branded the charges a rip-off and has called for a cut in government subsidies to CIE.
“While I have no problem charging people who park at railway stations infrequently, it is extremely unfair on those who have already bought weekly, monthly or annual travel tickets for their commute, so they should be exempt from the charge,” he said.
“Many commuters either walk or cycle to their local station, but this is not always possible and many have no alternative but to park and ride as there are very few bus links to railway stations.
“There has been no public consultation on this new system, which will hit commuters who are already finding their take home pay reduced because of the spiralling cost of living.”
The stations where pay parking will be introduced tomorrow are: Dundalk, Drogheda, Laytown, Balbriggan, Skerries, Rush & Lusk, Donabate, Malahide and Portmarnock on the northern line.
An Iarnrod Eireann spokesman said the remaining stations will come into effect by November.
PA
© 2008 irishtimes.com

Rail Users Ireland is an active organisation, frequently appearing in numerous media outlets representing the interests and needs of rail passengers throughout Ireland. Below is a selection of media coverage in which Rail Users Ireland has been quoted in or has taken part in through radio or television in recent months.

Wednesday July 30th

Today FM - The Last Word

The threat of strike action hangs over services this Friday. Matt Copper in the chair, Stephen Rogers from the Irish Examiner and Mark Gleeson from Rail Users Ireland

Listen

Thursday July 17th

Following the news that Irish Rail has signed contracts to being the charging for car parking at 37 stations in the Greater Dublin Region, Rail Users Ireland spokespeople provided comment in many media outlets

  • Newstalk Right Hook
  • Today FM News
  • RTE Drivetime
  • FM104 News
  • Press Association
  • Irish Daily Mail
  • Irish Independent
  • TV3 News
  • Monday May 26th

    Breakfast - Newstalk

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland discussing the continuing cancellations of numerous trains in Cork. Chris NBRU rep from Inchicore explains that its not just Cork. Ger Gilroy is the presenter.

    Listen

    Last Word - Today FM

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland together with Frank McDonald of the Irish Times, argue the different sides with respect of the need of Metro North. Matt Cooper is in the chair. Some brief comments also concerning the rail disruption in Cork.

    Friday May 23rd

    Drivetime RTE Radio 1

    Thomas J Stamp of Rail Users Ireland discussing the cancellations of numerous trains in Cork, Mary Wilson is the presenter.

    Newsbeat RTE 2FM & FM104 Radio News

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland calling for the introduction strict service performance based contracts to penalise Irish Rail management in light of the cancellations of numerous trains in Cork.

    Rail Users Ireland Press Release

    Once again rail customers have been left in limbo by the current bout of disruption

    Monday May 19th

    Examiner

    2 articles on the revelation that some trains are slower than in the 1970's

    By Paul Kelly, Consumer Correspondent

    IARNROD EIREANN has been accused of failing passengers after admitting journey times have got longer despite billions of euro being spent on the railways.

    Since the 1990s, Irish Rail has spent €1 billion upgrading track, signalling and fencing while the Government is planning to spend €5.5bn on further improvements before 2017.

    Yet a comparison of this year's train timetables with those from 1974, 1993 and 1994, reveals journeys on the same routes are taking longer today than a generation ago:

    In 1993, the fastest time between Dublin and Cork in both directions was two hours 20 minutes on Sundays and two hours 30 minutes on weekdays. Today, despite a more powerful locomotive with an improved top-speed of 160 kilometres per hour, the quickest journey is two hours 45 minutes, or 15 minutes longer.

    In 1974, the journey from Dublin Heuston to Waterford's Plunkett Station each way took two hours 15 minutes with 12 stops in between. Today, the fastest journey on the same route takes two hours 23 minutes yet the service only calls at six stations on the way.

    In the early 1970s, passengers travelling from Dublin Connolly to Sligo could make the journey in three hours flat. Yet today, the best time is three hours three minutes, despite new Intercity railcars, new track layout and new signalling.

    In 1994, the 8.20am Limerick to Dublin service took two hours five minutes. Today, the 7.35am takes 15 minutes longer despite a powerful 160kph locomotive.

    Last night the Rail Users Ireland (RUI) pressure group said Iarnród Éireann had to concentrate on improving journey times.

    "Passenger numbers are up but that's because people have no choice other than to go by train," said RUI spokesman Mark Gleeson.

    "Irish Rail has spent €1bn to make the network safe and reliable, but there has been no investment to beef things up. The roads are now getting faster, but if the trains don't get faster then we'll get into a vicious circle of declining passenger numbers and less investment."

    Irish Rail had only just got around to tackling track problems at Portarlington, Co Laois, after trains were forced to travel there at just 48kph for the past 12 years, he said.

    Iarnrod Eireann's journey times also look poor when compared with those in Britain, where rail services have long been considered neglected and underfunded. The 162-kilometre trip from Dublin to Waterford takes two hours 23 minutes, yet passengers can travel 372 kilometres from London to Darlington in northeast England in two hours 30 minutes.

    Iarnrod Eireann spokesman Barry Kenny insisted journey times would improve in future, saying investment in services was increasing passengers. "If you look at timetables today we operate a lot more Intercity and suburban services and that congestion, for want of a better term, has to be factored in," he said. "We also have an allowance for improvement works, which will have an impact because trains will go slower."

    Tipp Today with Seamus Martin - Tipp FM

    Follow up to the piece in the Irish Examiner, Mark Gleeson for Rail Users Ireland

    Last Word - Today FM

    Discussion of the news featured in the Irish Examiner which showed train times are no better if not longer on some routes than in the 1970's and 1990's. Last Word Today FM with Matt Copper in the chair, Mark Gleeson for Rail Users Ireland, Barry Kenny for Irish Rail.

    Listen

    April

    Railway Interiors International

    The April edition of Railway Interiors International contains a 4 page spread on the interior design of trains in Ireland focusing on the passenger experience. The entire article was written by Thomas J Stamp of Rail Users Ireland.

    Tuesday March 25th

    Last Word - Today FM

    Yet more trains cancelled today due to the ongoing driver problems within Irish Rail. With Anton Savage in the chair, Mark Gleeson for Rail Users Ireland and Barry Kenny for Irish Rail

    Listen

    The Right Hook - Newstalk

    More discussion of the cancellations on the rail network today, Mark Gleeson for Rail Users Ireland, George Hook is the presenter

    RTE 1 Television News

    Piece to camera discussing the cancellations and the impacts on passengers. Will Goodbody for RTE News

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0325/trains.html

    Monday March 24th

    Examiner

    Article on the availability of refunds to passengers effected by the current cancellations.

    Text to follow shortly

    Cork 95FM

    Soundbite for new concerning the possibility of refunds for passengers effected by cancellations.

    Sunday March 23th

    Sunday Tribune

    Article highlighting the massive disparities the price of rail fares

    Text to follow shortly

    http://www.railusers.ie/news/news.php?year=2008&no=6.html

    Wednesday March 19th

    Last Word - Today Fm

    Discussion of the etiquette giving up your seat on public transport with Hugh Linehan in the chair, Mark Gleeson for Rail Users Ireland.

    http://www.railusers.ie/podcasts/19032008.php

    Thursday March 6th

    Limerick Today - Live 95Fm

    Public transport in Limerick

    Discussion of public transport in Limerick. Shock news of the €633 million price tag on Shannon rail link. Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland discusses the options for Limerick and what could be done.

    Tuesday March 4th

    John Drummey - Radio Kerry

    Kerry the poor relation in rail services

    Discussion of the general service issues from Kerry in particular matters arising from the current disruption. Mark Gleeson on the phone for Rail Users Ireland.

    Friday February 29th

    Right Hook - Newstalk

    Luas Smart Card System Crashes

    This morning many hundreds of Luas smart card holders were left short changed as a result of a Y2K esq software bug in the Luas smart card ticket system; it could not cope with leap years. Mark Gleeson in studio for Rail Users Ireland.

    Rail Users Ireland Press Release

    Luas smart card system crashes due to leap year

    Wednesday February 27th

    Tipp Today with Seamus Martin - Tipp FM

    Discussion of various issues effecting passengers in the Tipperary area. Thomas Stamp on the phone for Rail Users Ireland.

    Tuesday February 26th

    Last Word - Today Fm

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland discussing the continuing cancellations of numerous trains. Matt Cooper as always in the chair, Barry Kenny of Irish Rail in full denial mode.

    http://www.railusers.ie/podcasts/26022008.php

    The Irish Times - Chris Ashmore And Tim O'Brien

    Ongoing disruption to Iarnród Éireann services as a result of industrial action is set to be exacerbated by service restrictions at Heuston station, over coming weeks.

    Concern about deteriorating passenger services was expressed yesterday by the passenger body, Rail Users Ireland. This came after it emerged that the unofficial union action is set to clash with service restrictions as part of the €400 million Kildare Route Project. The scheme aims to establish four lines between Dublin and Kildare but the company said weekend disruption could be expected due to necessary engineering works.

    Last weekend the unofficial action spread from the Dublin to Cork and Kerry lines, affecting routes to Sligo and Belfast.

    The dispute involves drivers refusing to operate expanded services in Iarnród Éireann's new timetable, as part of a wider dispute over long-term efficiencies.

    Talks took place yesterday between Iarnród Éireann management and Siptu and NBRU representatives in a bid to resolve differences about train drivers' weekend rosters but the process was said to be ongoing.

    Over the weekend, many passengers arrived at stations only to find that services had been cancelled, rescheduled or replaced either partly or entirely by buses.

    The bulk of the alterations were on the Dublin-Connolly to Sligo and Dublin-Connolly to Belfast routes. Services on the Cork to Dublin-Heuston line and between Mallow and Tralee were also disrupted.

    The introduction of a new timetable - with an increase in the number of trains being run - has led to some difficulties with train crew rosters. Drivers at a number of depots have decided not to work their scheduled rest days.

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland claims there is a shortage of drivers.

    Iarnród Éireann spokesman Barry Kenny admitted that absences were not being covered at some depots and that some drivers have been operating the old weekend rosters rather than those set out under the 2008 timetable.

    He denied that there was a shortage of drivers. However, he acknowledged that there was a "potential for impact" on passenger services if the situation was not resolved.

    © 2008 The Irish Times

    http://www.railusers.ie/news/news.php?year=2008&no=3.html

    Friday February 15th

    Dublin Informer

    Is Luas on the right track?

    The Luas system was to be the main fix for Dublin's transport problems. Three years on from its launch, how is it faring?The idea of building a light rail tram system for Dublin was the subject of much heated debate when it was first announced. Plans for three Luas lines were quickly dropped to two. The question of whether it should go underground or overground dominated the headlines.

    The project went way over budget and was delivered many years behind schedule. Now, regardless of political arguments, cost overruns, and various delays, most Luas users are, overall, happy with the service. However, there are some major problems with Luas. The Red Line, which runs from Tallaght to Connolly Station, and the Green Line, which runs from Sandyford to Stephen's Green have perhaps become victims of their own success.

    The Rail Users lobby group has raised concerns about overcrowding, fare increases, and the absence of integrating ticketing, which would allow commuters pass with ease between Luas, rail, and bus services. Overcrowding has become a major problem during the peak rush hours.

    'There's no doubt that, at certain times of the morning – especially between 8.20 and 8.40 – there is added pressure on the service,' says Tom Manning, a spokesman for the Rail Procurement Agency (RPA). 'We don't underestimate the challenge we face in addressing this. We're looking at both short and long-term answers.'Underlying the problem of overcrowding is the fact that, in the early 1990's, planners failed to accurately forecast the rise in Dublin's population and employment. As a result, Dublin's tram service is having difficulties coping with the volume of passengers.

    To address the issue, all the Luas trams are due to be extended from 30 metres to 40 metres this year. New trams have been ordered to add to the existing stock of 40m carriages; the RPA intend to use these to boost the frequency of trams. One of the problems facing the RPA, according to the results of a public inquiry held in 2006, is that the Luas simply cannot carry as many people as a Metro service. Indeed, the Green line extension from Sandyford to Cherrywood, which is due for completion by 2010, will need to be upgraded to a Metro by 2020. The growth in the numbers of passengers has led to longer queues at the ticket machines.

    A growing number of people are buying Luas Smartcards, which allows them pre-pay for travel on Luas and avoid the queues. The RPA, citing increased costs, recently increased the price of all fares except Smartcards and child fares. Adult single and adult return fares rose by 10 cent, adult seven day fares rose by between 40 and 60 cent, and adult 30-day fares increased by between €1.70 and €2. Tommy Broughan, the Labour party's transport spokesman, is critical of the fare increases.

    'Before the election, Labour proposed a one euro fare across Dublin's transport network,' he says. 'Compared to other European countries, we don't subsidise public transport as much as we should. It may be only a small rise but day-by-day it all adds up. "We need people to take public transport in order to meet our climate change targets, but this price rise isn't encouraging. It hasn't been explained why it was needed.'Last year, the Luas turned over a profit of €5m.

    In spite of this, Tom Manning of the RPA says that the price increases were necessary: 'We don't get any operating subsidies from the government, whereas in continental Europe public transport often receives state subvention. Costs have risen and we are obliged to cover them. We don't make a profit as such, because we have no private shareholders to pay and any surplus is ploughed straight back into the service, allowing us to carry out essential maintenance and make improvements.'According to Manning, an integrated ticketing system is due to be introduced by 2010.

    Mark Gleeson, spokesman for the Rail Users lobby group, says that this is too late. 'This whole issue has gone on for far too long,' he states. 'Part of the problem is the lack of an overseeing body or regulator for Dublin's transport network. There is too much competition between the different forms of public transport in Dublin, whereas they should be working together. The few feeder buses that do exist, such as the number 17, the 114, and the 75, offer an appalling service.' Gleeson, however, is mostly satisfied with the Luas: 'It provides a service well beyond what we normally get from rail in Ireland. It's reliable, efficient, and the staff are friendly and helpful. There is room for improvement but, overall, I think it's a good service.'

    Dublin Informer - February 15th

    Dublin's vitally important rail project

    By Derek Wheeler

    Another new station opened on Dublin's rail network recently. Phoenix Park station, located on the Navan road, was funded and built by the developer in order to provide public transport facilities to the homes being developed on the old Phoenix Park racecourse site.

    This is now an established trend in Dublin since the Adamstown development near Lucan became the first such example of providing train stations on adjacent lines. A similar plan is in place on the northern line near Baldoyle.

    Struggling efficiency

    At first glance the provision of these new stations appears to make absolute sense and is a far cry from the irresponsible development of the past. However on closer inspection these new stations have the potential to further curtail the already struggling efficiency of the lines they serve.

    When the Phoenix Park station opened, commuters on the Maynooth line immediately expressed concerns about the existing overcrowding and unreliability of the line. These points were even accepted by the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, who has promised longer trains for the route. But this is only part of what is required right across the Dublin commuter rail network. Building new stations and providing longer trains solves a small part of the problem. Adding additional train services to the network is the real solution.

    But this cannot be done in any meaningful fashion until an important project is built. It's a project that hasn't received much publicity and one that has been the subject of various campaigns since 2004. Irish Rail calls it the "Interconnector". It sounds like something from a sci-fi movie so I'll simplify it and explain it in terms that we can all understand.

    The Interconnector is a rail tunnel that would run from Heuston station to Docklands and connect the rail lines at Heuston with the rail lines running out of Connolly station. Of course, the Phoenix Park Tunnel route does something similar and I outlined its potential in a previous issue.

    Potential to redefine However, this new tunnel has the potential to completely redefine how Dublin's commuter trains operate. The tunnel would be electrified and carry DART trains. This would mean that the vast majority of the commuter network would also be electrified. The proposed services are as follows. A DART service would operate from Hazlehatch/Celbridge to Balbriggan, serving Heuston, Pearse, Docklands and most stations on the existing northern line.

    The Maynooth line would also have a DART service serving all current stations to Connolly and then onto Bray/Greystones. With this tunnel in place more capacity (that's space for more trains to you and I) could be provided and other commuter services could be vastly improved. Further benefits include superior methods of integration with other public transport modes. It's not an exaggeration to suggest that without this tunnel being built, Dublin's rail network will grind to an unmerciful halt at some point in the not-to-distant future.

    This new DART tunnel is included in the Government's Transport 21 programme of investment with an estimated completion date of 2015. Some commentators such as passenger representation bodies have expressed doubt about the Governments commitment to the project. I would be of the same opinion because the Governments performance in terms of public transport projects has been relatively weak and badly planned out.

    This tunnel should have been the very first rail project to get the green light from Kildare Street. That's how important it is. Without it, none of the other rail projects will perform to the best of their ability. It's also true to say that this project is relevant to a larger area than just the city centre.

    Even campaign groups outside the city recognise the potential of this DART tunnel. "It's the single most important piece of infrastructure in Transport 21. On paper the project looks local to the centre of the city, when in reality it will benefit commuters throughout Leinster," said a spokesperson from the Navan rail lobby, Meath on Track.

    "The extra capacity created by the tunnel will take cars off the road and even benefit areas that aren't served by rail. It's a critical piece of national infrastructure", he added.

    Quality of life solution Rail Users Ireland has campaigned for the tunnel since 2004. According to spokesperson, Thomas Stamp, it's imperative that it's built as soon as possible. "Many problems that exist on the Dublin suburban lines can be put down to the fact that we don't have the DART tunnel in place yet. It's not just an engineering solution; it's a quality of life solution for the thousands of rail users throughout the Dublin area. We can't believe it's not a more urgent priority", he said.

    The project has gone through a public consultation phase and according to Irish Rail is at the detailed planning and design stage. With dark clouds gathering in terms of the economy many will be holding their breath in relation to this much needed solution.

    Whether or not it survives any future cuts in spending is still wide open to debate. If it's not delivered then one thing is irrefutable, commuter rail services in Dublin will be in bigger trouble than they are already.

    Further details about the project are available at www.railusers.ie

    Wednesday February 13

    The Inbox, 98FM

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland about the struggle of the daily commute. On The Inbox with Alison & Paul on 98FM.

    http://www.railusers.ie/podcasts/13022008-1.php

    Breakfast - Newstalk

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland highlighting a number of problems with Irish Rail's fare system. Claire Byrne is the interviewer. Irish Rail declined the opportunity to provide a spokesperson on air.

    http://www.railusers.ie/news/news.php?year=2008&no=2.html

    Wednesday January 30th 2008

    Seoige and O'Shea - RTE1

    Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland highlighting the service offered by Irish Rail On the Seoige and O'Shea show, Barry Kenny of course leading the denials from Irish Rail

    http://www.railusers.ie/podcasts/30012008.php

    Monday January 28th

    Radio Kilkenny, follow up to Sunday Tribune article

    Sunday January 27th

    Sunday Tribune

    RAIL travel in Ireland is the second most expensive in Europe, despite frequent customer complaints that the service is below European standards with too few trains, not enough late night services and a skewed pricing system.

    Figures provided by the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable show that Irish rates are the second most expensive behind the UK and alongside Germany, with an average cost of 22 per 100km.

    This compares with 17 in Austria, 12 in Belgium, 7 in Poland and 4 in Slovakia.

    "The key thing here is that if we were getting a European level of service, then we wouldn't mind paying an expensive fair, " said Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland. "As it is, the service is ridiculously slow, the service frequencies aren't great and the fare system is ridiculously complicated. The whole system needs to be overhauled, yet we are still paying over-inflated prices. It doesn't make any sense."

    Research undertaken by Rail Users Ireland has discovered anomalies in the rail system whereby passengers travelling from Dublin to other parts of the country end up paying significantly more than people travelling from the country to the capital city.

    "The cheapest return fare from Dublin to Cork is 64.50 but if you're travelling return from Cork to Dublin then you pay 46.50, " Gleeson said. "The whole thing is geared towards travelling to Dublin while passengers in Dublin have to pay more. A lot of people have been complaining about those fares."

    According to Rail Users Ireland, train schedules are "still serving a Victorian community", with many last trains leaving as early as 7pm every evening. "You can get trains to Dublin at 5am but not after 7pm at night, when people are still coming out of the office, " said Gleeson. Overcrowded lines such as Maynooth to Dublin (dubbed the 'Calcutta Express' by locals) and Portlaoise to Dublin are also becoming "unbearable", he added. "There are people standing on trains that aren't designed for standing passengers. They're only short of sitting on the roof."

    The spokesman for Iarnrod Eireann, Barry Kenny, said that figures the company has show that Ireland is 40% below the European average when it comes to rail fares. "Our single fares are certainly higher, but when return fares are taken into account, this is not the case at all, " he said.

    © 2008 The Sunday Tribune

    Dublin Informer - January 21st

    Pay Parking At Rail Stations – An Unjustifiable Rip-Off?

    By Derek Wheeler

    It's claimed that Ireland is a low tax economy, but you really could be excused for doubting it when you examine the various "hidden taxes" that lurk in the underbelly of Irish society. We may pay a low rate of income tax, but we are penalised for it in many other ways by both the Government and service providers. Just look at the price of fuel. Since 2004 the average price of a litre of diesel has increased by 30 cent. New road tax levies will see huge increases in the cost of taxing many vehicles and we are told that it's in the interest of the environment. So you may decide that reducing your carbon footprint is the way to go. Public transport is the answer, you say. I'll save a fortune on fuel costs by driving to my local train station, is the mantra kicking around inside your head. Think again.

    Rip-off

    The Celtic Tiger is being eaten by the rip-off rattlesnake and it's having a feeding frenzy at your local railway station car park. Not content with requesting fare increases on an annual basis and benefiting from a Government subsidy, Irish Rail have joined the ranks of car park gods. The days of parking your car and taking the train now comes at a price in excess of your train ticket. Car Park charges are being rolled out across Dublin train stations and the message from Irish Rail is, if you don't like it, lump it. The average charge is €2 per day or €5 per week. In a recent radio interview Barry Kenny, spokesperson for Irish Rail said that this charge has been introduced to deter non train users from parking in station car parks and is also required to pay for the car park upgrades. A spokesperson for passenger representative group, Rail Users Ireland, rejected Mr. Kenny's comments." If Irish Rail was serious about stopping non train users from parking in station car parks, then why don't they simply introduce barriers that are operated by your rail ticket." said Thomas Stamp." Anyway the price is too low to discourage the non rail using motorist. It's a blatant revenue generating exercise." he added. Rail Users Ireland has also pointed out that the Department of Transport has a fund for building and upgrading park and ride facilities.

    Unsustainable demand

    In the long term it's very hard to see how we can continue sustaining the demand for car parking spaces at our rail stations. CIE Chairman, John Lynch has claimed that better park and ride facilities will prevent cars entering the city. Obviously he is unaware of the huge congestion that is now evolving around many railway stations. We are simply shifting the problem elsewhere. In many cases the local road network is incapable of dealing with it. It could be seen as somewhat bizarre that the head of Irelands national transport company is promoting and encouraging car usage, when the real solution is to provide dedicated local feeder buses that offer commuters a viable alternative for accessing rail services. Furthermore, we shouldn't be afraid to subsidise these bus services. Subsidy doesn't have to be a dirty word if it provides a workable solution that improves the quality of people's lives and negates the need to clog up local roads with cars heading to the train station. Charging for the honour of parking is simply a method to capitalise on people's dependency. It's not a solution. It's a greedy penalty.

    Friday January 11th

    FM104 - News

    Brief comments by Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland highlighting the poor response of Irish Rail to the derailment of a freight train in Skerries

    http://www.railusers.ie/podcasts/11012008.php

Last Updated: December 11 2008 14:24:10
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