Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley has criticised a decision by the National Transport Authority to approve a fare increase for bus, rail and Luas services. The hikes, which could come into force as early as next week will see prices rising by up to 13%.
Deputy Dooley commented, “This latest round of price hikes raises serious questions about the role of the National Transport Authority. The authority is supposed to protect the consumer, however over the past number of years it has approved a series of fare increases across all modes of public transport, forcing the customer to fork out once again.
“Many people, especially commuters, will notice a significant dent in their pockets once this latest price hike comes into force. The NTA should be encouraging people to use public transport instead of making it less cost effective. With the increase in people returning to work, transport companies have an opportunity to capitalise on new commuters, however these consecutive price rises are actually deterring customers, and in many cases people are opting to use their cars.
“As a member of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, I will be calling for the head of the NTA to appear before us and explain the decision behind the approval of this latest round of increases. The Regulator should be acting in the interests of the consumer, and not bowing to industry pressure and it is essential that he is able to explain the rationale behind this latest decision.
“These hikes will result in Dublin Bus cash fares being almost 40% higher than they were in 2012, while Luas and rail tickets will also see significant increases. Transport companies have expressed concern about falling passenger numbers, but consistent fare hikes will do nothing to improve the situation.
“Both the Regulator and the Transport Minister have questions to answer. It is unfair and unacceptable to expect the passenger to continue to bail out troubled transport companies. If this policy continues, fewer people will be able to afford the ever increasing fares resulting in even bigger losses in the public transport sector.”