Calls For Government And NTA To Plan For Free Public Transport Policy

Fare reductions welcome but more radical approaches needed

Climate crisis demands more sweeping changes

Welcoming the fare reductions across public transport today, People Before Profit climate spokesperson Bríd Smith TD urged Minister Eamon Ryan and the NTA to go further and move faster as a response to the climate crisis.

Noting the NTAs statement that fare reductions on Bus Éireann services had been met with a significant increase in numbers travelling the TD said:

“The experience of over 100 other cities and regions globally is that fare free travel is a win-win for societies, struggling communities, and the environment. When combined with radical improvements in the frequency and reliability of services provided, making public transport fare free can be a game changer in the climate crisis too and help us achieve the cuts in car travel and emissions we are so badly failing to achieve.”

Responding to criticisms of a fare free policy the TD added: “Of course at present we do not have sufficient capacity in our public transport, especially in rural areas, but also in cities. But we need to understand that heading towards fare free public transport is the future. The ideal place to start is with new routes and I have asked the NTA and the Minister to give serious consideration to making new BusConnects routes, such as the N4 and N6 on Dublin’s Northside, fare free when they commence service later this year. It would a perfect testing ground and has the capacity to capture the public’s support and imagination.”

She added: “Up to now climate action has been presented as a set of measures that either impose taxes on ordinary people or require them to change personal behavior and spend huge amounts of money that many simply don’t have. Fare free transport is a measure with the real potential to achieve a radical shift from private car transport to a more sustainable public transport mode, to cut emissions and show the public that radical climate action can benefit whole communities.

“Unfortunately, the latest figures show we are failing to achieve even the modest reductions in emissions we set ourselves, and people cannot see the sense in permitting data centres to expand while imposing taxes on their energy use. Fare free transport could radically shift the debate around climate action in a meaningful way.”