Recently, Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan made a statement saying the allowance of free public transport would lead to “reductions in active travel and an increased level of unnecessary trips.” It comes as no surprise that the leader of the Green Party, in their disconnect from the masses, believes that a nation experiencing a serious cost of living crisis would revel in wasting transport services on the taxpayers dime.
This absurd lack of understanding is indicative of how our representatives in Dáil Éireann simply cannot relate to the needs of the public and as a result fail to provide adequate services.
When Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was asked for comment he responded by saying he did not believe people would “go around on buses and trains just for the craic”. However went on to state that free transport would be problematic for reasons of cost and overcrowding. This comes at a time when Ireland is consistently posting economic growth.
When we look at the plans for 2023 the Department of Transport has been allocated €2.6 billion to oversee the continued development of ‘megaprojects’ such as Metrolink, Dart+, and BusConnects. These projects aim to boost the provision of services aimed almost entirely at Dublin’s commuter towns such as Bray, Maynooth and Drogheda.
While these services are still a needed resource they only serve to strengthen the disparity in employment opportunities nationwide.
The issue with transport across the nation does not merely lie with cost but also availability of services. With most public transport services located within and on the outskirts of Dublin city it leaves the rest of the country in desperate need of increased services.
This negatively impacts low income households as it is almost impossible to live rurally without access to a car. The cost of car ownership can account for over a third of a yearly salary (based on a salary of 30k/y).
The future for young people in Ireland continues to become bleaker under the self-serving leadership of Fine Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green party and while our out of touch politicians continue to trivialise the lives of their constituents it is us who must deal with consequences of an increasingly inaccessible system, of which free access to public transport is only the tip of the iceberg.