Words: Eva O’Beirne
Even by Eamon Ryan’s standards, this is bizarre.
In response to questions by People Before Profit’s Brid Smith on whether public transport fees will remain at a reduced rate or possibly become free in 2023, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan claimed that free public transport would result in “an increased level of unnecessary trips”.
The cost of public transport was reduced by 20 per cent overall in this year’s Budget, while the Youth Travel Card discount of 50 per cent was extended to 2023.
Ryan referred to unspecified research to support the claim that making public transport free would increase the level of “unnecessary trips”.
“Further, that same research tells us that any increase in public transport demand due to free fares would largely be achieved by reductions in active travel and an increased level of unnecessary trips,” he said yesterday.
“Ultimately then, free fares would not substantially boost the sustainability of the transport system, primarily because passenger demand is much more sensitive to levels of service provision than it is to pricing.”
It is still unclear what “research” Ryan was referring to, or what Ryan considers to be an “unnecessary” journey.
What makes matters (somehow) worse, is the fact that Ryan has been accused by fellow Green Party members of being incapable of articulating “Green Party values or policy” at a leader’s meeting on Monday night that resulted in the eviction ban not being extended despite homelessness figures being at an all-time high.
We’re now at a place where Government is so stingy with public investment, and our capital city is losing its affordable activities that our public representatives think it is reasonable to criticise “unnecessary journeys”.
The logic of not having free public services because the public may use them perfectly illustrates the Government’s attitudes toward the country.
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