Originally Posted by lkdsl
@ Wild Bill - maybe if you re-read the exchanges starting with post #132 by bk, who suggested removing all subsidies and making rail passengers pay the full cost.
First of all, let me point out I was only suggesting removing subsidies for intercity travel, not for Dart and Commuter rail.
Stop and think about it for a moment, why does a government given any service a subsidy?
A government usually gives a subsidy because a service is needed for social or economic reasons, but can't be delivered by private companies at a reasonable cost.
A government decides to subsidise a service for the greater good by spreading some of the cost over all tax payers, even if they don't use the service, rather then putting the burden of the full cost directly on the user of the service.
Dart, commuter rail and city bus services are all subsidised because they are very expensive services to run, but if we didn't have them it would lead to total gridlock chaos on the streets as everyone drives instead and thus the economy would suffer badly.
In the past the government rightly subsidised intercity rail travel, as in the past the roads between our cities were awful. Intercity rail was significantly faster (up to 2 hours faster) and much safer, thus it offered a good social and economic return on it's subsidies.
However times have changed, we now have excellent, high quality, safe motorways between our cities. It is now significantly faster to drive then to take the train and direct coach buses are faster then rail city center to city center.
So now IMO intercity rail offers no economic or social justification for it's subsidies. It isn't faster and it isn't any safer. So what is the justification for subsidising intercity rail?
Please don't say environmental, because that ignores the fact that bus coaches use less diesel and are less polluting per passenger km then diesel trains.
Bus Eireann's intercity express services aren't subsidised, so why should Irish Rails intercity services be subsidised?