Calls have been made to pilot free travel in Cork, starting with a trial for students at certain hours as a means of cutting down on school traffic and benefiting the environment.
The Labour Party unveiled its Alternative Budget this week saying it would roll out a national retrofitting programme and provide free public transport for children and students.
Labour Party Councillor John Maher and Local Area Rep for Cork City Peter Horgan welcomed the inclusion of the latter in particular, costed at €87 million, and have said that Cork should be the starting point.
“If we cut down on school traffic by taking cars off the road with free public transport for students at certain times, imagine the impact on emissions and costs to families.
“Extend the trial to third level students also to reduce the burden. The buses are running its routes either way," Mr Maher said.
The Cork City Councillor for the North East Ward said he and Mr Maher have lobbied the Labour Party TDs on the matter.
Mr Horgan said initiatives such as this are vital in addressing the Climate emergency.
“We’ve seen the recent report declaring a code red for humanity.
“We need more than robot trees we need immediate action.
“If Covid taught us anything it showed that political resistance to a topic can melt away when needs must," he said.
“Our needs now demand a return to public transport. Our city and suburbs are getting busier again.
“We were the first to trial the 24 hour bus service which was a huge success pre-Covid.
“We need to replicate that innovation again and move forward with trialling free transport at certain times to encourage people back onto public transport.
“With higher passenger volumes, we will have the data that certain elements of the State desire to fully reinvest into our public transport system, especially outside of the capital," he added.
“Let’s take a chance and trial free public transport here in Cork. We know the cost now.”