Not so smart! Sustainable Transport Plan Fails To Address Core Rail Passenger Issues
February 5th 2009
Rail Users Ireland (RUI), Ireland's rail passenger representative body, today expressed its disbelief at the almost complete lack of rail policies in the "Smarter Travel" policy document released by Minister Dempsey.
RUI believes that rather than waste time on endless consultative processes, what is needed is action to resolve key basic problems on the ground. There is a clear unwillingness amoungst those in power to make the serious reforms required to bring public transport into the 21st century, particularly when it comes to the rail network.
Public transport is not seen as a viable option for many tens of thousands as it fails to meet the needs and standards expected. Rail passengers continue to suffer as a result of basic issues, such as,
- Failure of timetables to meet the needs and expectations of society in the 21st century, particularly in the late evening and at weekends, e.g. Last train south of Greystones is still 18:35, Sunday services are woeful everywhere.
- Lack of integration in terms of ticketing and timetabling between all transport operators
- A lack of basic information on timetables and fares
- Pathetic customer service and a lack of any real service standards and accountability
If the Minister thinks some carefully chosen buzz words will result in a massive modal shift from cars to rail and bus, he is mistaken, what is required is a focus on delivering an improved quality service.
"We find it hard to believe that no intiatives or policy are presented in this document with respect to passenger rail services in Ireland," says RUI spokesperson, Mark Gleeson. "The idea that there is no need for major rail policies over the next 11 years is ridiculous. The railways in Ireland are dying on their feet. Irish Rail have already introduced cutbacks on the quiet and passengers are feeling the squeeze on increased prices and new parking charges."
RUI will shortly be releasing a policy document, containing a series of practical recommendations for reform across all areas of rail transport in Ireland. While not all of these recommendations are achievable in the current economic climate, they represent a way forward for rail transport in Ireland.