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Unread 17-07-2008, 09:29   #4
Mark Hennessy
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Maynooth
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And Indo Editorial:

U-turn on public transport policy

Thursday July 17 2008
On one side, the commuting public hears talk of congestion charges to deter them from driving into the city. On the other, they hear today's news that they are to be effectively fined for following official advice to "park and ride" where possible.

Yes, if a CIE plan to introduce charges at rail station car parks goes ahead, a five-times-a-week commuter will soon be paying almost 500 a year on top of the train fare. He or she can choose not to pay, of course. In that case, the delinquent driver's car will be clamped and he or she will face a sizeable fine.

Given that the idea has been floating around for at least five years, and given that hard-pressed taxpayers face rising prices on all sides, is it clever to inflict this quite significant unavoidable charge at this time?

Five years ago, the late Seamus Brennan displayed the political savvy for which he was renowned when, as minister, he vetoed this same plan.

CIE planned to raise millions by introducing pay and display at 30 stations, including most of the stations in the greater Dublin area.

The only difference this time is that 37 stations are being targeted.

Mr Brennan refused to give approval on the basis that it was government policy to attract people to use public transport and charging people to park at stations would send the wrong message.

Has government policy changed so much in so short a time?

And, if so, what else has changed?
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