Rail Users Ireland Condemns Approval of Irish Rail Fare Increase
February 7th 2011
Rail Users Ireland today condemns the approval of fare increases, which will impact on all rail commuters.
Rail Users Ireland, spokesperson Mark Gleeson said "The fare increases further punish passengers who live just outside the Dublin City Area who already pay considerably more per journey than those inside the city area. These commuters are also those who are most affected by the introduction of parking charges two years ago."
Irish Rail has failed to meet the punctuality targets on DART for each 4-week period since October 2010, performance on other routes has been poor with Portlaoise services subject to frequent cancellation, with daily delays on all other routes.
Despite the fall in passenger numbers, passengers continue to travel in appalling crowded conditions made worse by the fact 80 intercity coaches and a further 20 DART coaches are out of service as a cost saving measure. Despite repeated cancellations and overcrowding Irish Rail has refused all requests to put these coaches back into service
Irish Rail carried 1.1 million more passengers in 2010 than in 2009, which makes a mockery of claims that business is continuing to decline.
Mark Gleeson, Spokesperson Rail Users Ireland said. "Irish Rail is performing poorly due to its inability to operate a punctual, reliable railway. Customer service is non-existent, information remains poor and inconsistent with out of date timetables now a frequent sight at stations. Passengers are bused between stations on a near daily basis"
In light of these facts passengers should be entitled to a reduction in fares not an increase. Rail Users Ireland highlights that commuters on the Newry/Portadown - Belfast route in Northern Ireland, received a 10% reduction in monthly ticket prices due to a reliability target being missed by only 0.2%.
Despite Irish Rail's scare tactics, claiming the companies act prevents it from continuing to post a loss, conveniently it is ignored that Irish Rail of its own free will opened the Western Rail Corridor in the knowledge it would lose 2.5 million euro per annum.
Rail Users Ireland is in regular contact with the National Transport Authority and continues to highlight inconsistencies between Irish Rail's claimed performance and the reality on the ground.
Rail Users Ireland advice on avoiding the increases
1. For commuters within the Dublin short hop zone, smartcard is now always cheaper for any combination of single and return journeys Weekly, monthly, annual and some special tickets provide the best value for regular train users.
2. As annual ticket prices increase in May 2011, now is the time to avail of the current fare to lock in value for the next 12 months. Annual tickets are priced at the equivalent of 10 monthly tickets. Under the T2 axsaver scheme a further saving of up to 50% is possible.
3. Intercity tickets purchased online are subject to significant discount particularly for single journeys and offer greater rights of refund to the passenger in the event of a train cancellation or delay.
While Rail Users Ireland condemns the fare increase on commuter fares, it welcomes the National Transport Authorities refusal to increase long distance intercity fares. Rail Users Ireland has long highlighted major inconsistencies in intercity fares. This decision for the first time officially acknowledges that Irish Rail intercity fares policy is unfair and requires substantial revision.