Deputy Imelda Munster.
Fine Gael may have backed local Councillor Sharon Tolan’s Fairer Fares campaign to extend the railway short hop zone to Drogheda but Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster says there has been no firm commitment from government on extending the zone despite the cost of living crisis.
Deputy Munster said:
“I’ve been calling on the NTA and the government to do this for six years now, and I raised it once again this week in the Dáil.
“We know that they can reduce fares with the stroke of a pen. It was done just weeks ago. The only thing stopping them extending the Short Hop Zone is the lack of political will.
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“The government says that it wants fewer cars on the roads and more people using public transport yet even though the DART is due to be extended to Drogheda in the near future, which in itself reflects the fact that this is how far north of Dublin the commuter belt now extends, they still haven’t instructed the NTA to extend the Short Hop Zone.
“It makes no sense given the sheer volume of people who commute to Dublin on a daily basis from these areas many of whom can no longer afford to drive given the spiralling costs of petrol and diesel and who equally cannot afford the high cost of train fares.
“Public transport needs to be affordable and accessible but it’s clear that the NTA has no interest in reducing fares.
“The government has the power to change this yet to date has chosen not to.
“There is a very strong and urgent case to extend the Short Hop Zone as far as Drogheda now especially with the cost of living crisis and the cost of petrol and diesel going through the roof.
“It makes no economic or environmental sense not to do so, and it is unfair for the thousands of commuters in East Meath and Drogheda.”