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Public Transport

14 November 2007

Senator Ivana Bacik: I ask for a debate on public transport and alternatives to the use of private cars. This is timely on a day when thousands of commuters are stranded without bus services. I am sure we all hope the matter will be resolved at the Labour Court. However, it begs the question of broader issues about Government support for public transport and for forms of transport other than the private car.

Last week Senator Ross called for the restoration of Leinster House lawn and that Members would lead by example. I fully support his call but I take issue with him when he says that most of us drive. Some of us cycle in every day and we see at first hand the lack of support for cyclists from both the Government and Dublin City Council. There is a very poor network of cycling lanes and cyclists face extreme danger every day.

The fact that the Government has not seen fit to support cycling as an alternative form of transport to private cars is hugely problematic but there is also a lack of support for public transport which is evident in a report last week that integrated ticketing for bus, rail, DART and Luas services across Dublin will now not be introduced until 2010, which is appalling. It was nearly ten years ago when the prospect of integrated ticketing was first raised. The then Minister, Deputy Mary O'Rourke, said it would definitely be introduced by 2002, the Railway Procurement Agency promised it by 2005 and now we are told it will not be introduced until 2010. Is it really that difficult to develop an integrated ticket system for all public transport services across Dublin? We need to debate this issue.