Ryan says 30% reduction in parents driving to school would 'benefit everyone'

The Minister acknowledged that some parents can't bring their children to school without a car
Ryan says 30% reduction in parents driving to school would 'benefit everyone'

James Cox

Everyone will benefit if the number of parents driving their children to school can be reduced by 30 per cent, according to the Environment Minister.

Eamon Ryan said fewer cars would reduce congestion on the roads and make the air cleaner.

The Minister acknowledged that some parents can't bring their children to school without a car.

However, Mr Ryan said parents always respond well when public transport is provided.

He told Newstalk: "If someone has to drive their kids to school, that's just fine, it's not like you're going to shame or put the blame on someone. But my experience is any time we provide good public transport and a safe way of people using active travel they respond immediately."

Mr Ryan added: "If you take the 30 per cent out, it frees up the roads for everyone. Everyone knows in the summer our transport works in the winter it doesn't.

"It's also good for kids... they can be more active, more independence. There are so many benefits."

Plans by the Environment Minister to cut 30 per cent of school car journeys has been welcomed by an expert in climate policy.

Sadhbh O'Neill, researcher in climate policy, said the number of students travelling by car is far too high.

'Active travel'

"We have about 60 per cent of school journeys being made by car for primary school kids, and 50 per cent of them going by car at secondary school level.

"So these are very high rates of car dependency, and I think there's huge potential for those journeys to be made by active travel."

Ms O'Neill added: "Active travel is basically getting to school on your own fuel: walking, cycling, scooting, and there's public transport options as well. Public transport is obviously being approved, the Government has waived the fees for school bus services, but the services themselves need to be expanded to cater for that rising demand... and that will help in rural areas where people can't walk or cycle to school."

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