In the wake of the emergency subvention of €36 million announced for CIE, Fianna Fáil’s local area representative for Naas, James Lawless, has criticised Irish Rail management and said they need to innovate to succeed in today’s climate.
“I’ve always been a fan of public transport” explained James, who is also a spokesperson for the Naas and Sallins Rail User Group. “I use the train to Dublin almost every working day and when it’s done right there is no better way to travel” according to James.
“But you sometimes wonder what commercial acumen, if any, do Irish Rail apply to their operation or whether they employ any strategic considerations. We’ve been told their revenue is under pressure because the numbers are dropping and that rings true. But they must realise the prices they are charging are causing that drop-off as well. It’s not so bad on a commuter ticket but they are simply not competitive for day trippers or casual users. Compared with the bus or even taking the car, their fares are far steeper” claimed James.
“Their pricing structures are still rooted on the old tram lines from the beginning of the last century” explained James. “That’s apparently why it costs a couple of euro to travel from Hazelhatch or Maynooth but an extra tenner to travel one stop further onto Sallins. It’s not justifiable today. Also most businesses including hotels and airlines discount seats approaching departure as better a full house on half fare than an empty one at the same cost. The train is going anyway, surely half a loaf would be better than no bread” claimed James.
“The ongoing fiasco regarding shelters at Sallins station also makes you wonder. It’s literally hard to see where the shelters will actually fit when they are hopefully installed. They will have to dismantle newly erected structures to make room. It beggars belief that they could spend all that money and end up with almost a worse station than they started with” concluded James.