THE implementation of a ‘climate ticket’ scheme giving people unlimited usage of public transport anywhere in Ireland for €9 a month would be a “game-changer” in incentivising people to travel more sustainably, Labour local area representative for Cork city, Peter Horgan has said.
The Labour Party is urging the Government to consider adopting the scheme in Budget 2023, which is set to be announced on Tuesday.
“In terms of transport, we need to cut costs for families and commuters.
“We have to incentivise people to use public transport and to make that efficient and punctual for people.
“To do that, you do need BusConnects, but in the more immediate terms what we really want to see is a €9 climate ticket which was trialled in Germany,” Mr Horgan told The Echo.
“A pilot of that to the end of the year would cost €300m.
“People would pay €9 a month and could travel anywhere in Ireland on bus and rail.
“That would be a game-changer and would really take the pressure off commuters between now and the end of the year,” he continued.
Mr Horgan said previous reductions in public transport fares rolled out by the Government are very welcome, but that “further steps” need to be taken to prompt a more substantial modal shift.
Issues regarding school transport must also be rectified to take more cars off the road during rush hours, Mr Horgan said.
“The school transport system needs to be completely overhauled and anyone who wants a school transport seat should get a school transport seat.
“This isn’t a scheme that’s fit for purpose at the moment, but it can be made fit for purpose very easily. What it can do is it can take so many cars off the road.
Speaking about what he would like to see announced with regards to transport in Budget 2023, Cork Senator Jerry Buttimer, who is a member of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, said continued investment in sustainable transport should be a priority.
“In terms of transport, I think it’s very important that Government continues to support the whole concept around sustainable travel in terms of an enhancement of the bus service and the light rail for Cork.
“Obviously, the whole modal shift away from the car is very important,” he said.
The Fine Gael Senator said that any plan to bring about enhanced usage of public transport “would be welcomed”.
Mr Buttimer also called for continued investment in Cork Airport in Budget 2023.
“I know from a Cork Airport perspective that the airport was included for the first time in the Regional Airport funding last year but it’s critical that this continues,” he said.