Free public transport
Sir, – David McWilliams is right about free public transport, but omits at least one other benefit (“Making buses, trains and trams free – and revolutionizing Irish transport” (Opinion, 29 January) .
As an everyday bus passenger (including during closures), the bane of my life are passengers who board a bus while having their money or card in as inconvenient a place as possible to that they can actually pick it up and use it. If all of these people boarded a bus and immediately sat down, the collective punctuality of the buses would increase significantly. And that would mean the buses would collectively use less fuel and generate fewer emissions. – Yours, etc.,
Sir, – The call for free public transport is an interesting suggestion (Letters, January 31).
From personal observation, it has been working on the Luas Red Line for years. – Yours, etc.,
Sir, – I applaud David McWilliams’ vision for Ireland’s metropolitan future, where public transport, cyclists and pedestrians dominate our urban roads. This shift in the dominance of passenger cars is key to achieving Ireland’s carbon neutral ambition and, as David McWilliams eloquently points out, will bring many other rewards including reduced pollution and traffic congestion, as well as a host of social, health and economic benefits.
Your columnist argues that the best incentive to shift people’s behavior from cars to public transport use is price, free public transport and the application of congestion charges for car use.
Although price is an important incentive, it is only one predictor of travel behavior that needs to be targeted to get people to use public transport.
I live in a relatively densely populated suburb of Galway city. Public transport is provided by an independent operator. Bus stops are roadside posts containing no shelter, seating or information. The timetable is hard to find and when found it is only a rough estimate of when a bus will travel.
The buses themselves are a scrap fleet from another European country, where they have long since been declared unfit for use.
I suspect that most of my neighbors wouldn’t use this public transport, even if they were paid to do so.
Public transport should be reliable, efficient, easy, frequent and comfortable.
The government must invest considerably to improve the quality of public transport throughout the country.
If it can be offered for free at the point of use, that would be the icing on the cake. – Yours, etc.,
Professor MOLLY BYRNE,