Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Was Watt Right

Options
  • 21-06-2018 1:13pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 493 ✭✭


    Secretary General of the Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform Robert Watt has got into hot water and been told to get back into his box by Government Ministers for suggesting that OAP'S and other qualified individuals who use the free travel scheme be restricted to using the service at non peak times only.

    Does he have a point.


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,801 ✭✭✭Roanmore


    My wife is qualified but has never used it, we were under the impression it was non peak hours :confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,811 ✭✭✭joe40


    I think he does have a point. The free travel at "peak times" is only really important for large urban/Dublin dwellers, since "daily public transport" would not be used in rural areas. So only a benefit if you live in an urban area.  
    I find it troublesome that that the issue can't even be discussed, since that demographic is very strong in elections.
    By all means keep the travel pass but not at peak times.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 565 ✭✭✭Trasna1


    joe40 wrote: »
    I think he does have a point. The free travel at "peak times" is only really important for large urban/Dublin dwellers, since "daily public transport" would not be used in rural areas. So only a benefit if you live in an urban area.  
    I find it troublesome that that the issue can't even be discussed, since that demographic is very strong in elections.
    By all means keep the travel pass but not at peak times.

    Without data, it's hard to know what the impact would be. Anecdotally I wouldn't see a non-peak free travel only having anything other than a trivial impact on freeing up extra peak capacity in the mornings, and a minimal impact in the evenings.

    To be honest, this is probably the opening salvo in getting rid of the scheme. It will be long gone anyway by the time I retire.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 36,221 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp


    Why not at peak times? Do these free travellers pad out the commuting numbers so drastically, that they must be made exempt?

    It's a true point that OAPs are a historically strong and vocal voting base, but using the statistical power of Anecdotal Evidence, the number of (obvious) OAPs I'd see on a Dublin Bus during peak times is negligible - bar the one or two sitting in their designated seats.

    Seems to me a more reliable, extensive & scheduled public transport system would be of greater benefit, but that's long term thinking and tends to get held up in the planning stage beyond the cycle of a single government; I guess it's politically easier to just nuke some minority demographic and call it an improvement.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,573 ✭✭✭Infini


    In all honestly the passes originally COULDN'T be used during peak time's to begin with. I believe it was Seamus Brennan who changed that years back to buy vote's at the time.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 33,875 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    I think he does have a point, Id be for it, but coupled with a sweeping and wide change of the whole scheme.

    It needs to be torn down entirely and started again, because in its current form its literally a money hole and we are filling it in. Open abuse and no checks balances or verification.

    but too look at the comments on the journal its a sacred cow not to be touched nor discussed. I suspect commentary from free availers..


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 8,473 CMod ✭✭✭✭Sierra Oscar


    The level of scaremongering from the media in relation to this and the feverish calls for resignations by politicians is absolute nonsense. Robert Watt threw this potential measure out as a number of different options that he felt should be explored further in the context of a discussion on how we fund public transport services. He didn't specifically endorse this measure as the media have reported.

    God forbid a policy maker might have something to say on a policy issue. Public transport is chronically underfunded, it's about time we discussed it and come up to solutions to this problem. Watt was making the point that everything should be up for consideration, including the Free Travel Scheme. One million people are on the scheme and it costs the State €77m a year. It costs public transport companies even more as the fee paid by the Government for each passenger is at a much reduced rate. It's the rest of the service users that pick up the tab.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    yes, definitely.

    I'd ban old people from shopping in Tesco on a Saturday morning, entering a restaurant on a Saturday evening and from driving cars on a Sunday as well.

    (that was sarcasm by the way)


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,581 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Where he has a point is that 20% of the population have a free travel pass and another proportion have access to one as a companion.

    That is a huge level of dependency that is not affordable in the short term but imposes an impossible burden in the longer term. If we consider that the population is increasingly ageing, the level of benefits afforded at all levels of Irish society are unsustainable, particularly if we wish to fix the education and health services.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 565 ✭✭✭Trasna1


    Aegir wrote: »
    yes, definitely.

    I'd ban old people from shopping in Tesco on a Saturday morning, entering a restaurant on a Saturday evening and from driving cars on a Sunday as well.

    (that was sarcasm by the way)

    It's not a ban that he's proposing. They can still use the bus - they'll just have to pay like the rest of us.


  • Advertisement
  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Trasna1 wrote: »
    It's not a ban that he's proposing. They can still use the bus - they'll just have to pay like the rest of us.

    yes, i get that.

    It is a suggestion worthy of consideration. A free bus pass implies that the person does not work, so it is reasonable to offer it only on the basis that they don't put further pressure on an already overloaded public transport system and f they want to, then they pay for it.

    I would suggest that consideration needs to be made for the routes though, maybe exclude designated routes, as there are a lot of golden oldies travel home from shopping centres in the evening rush hour.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,523 Mod ✭✭✭✭Amirani


    pixelburp wrote: »
    Why not at peak times? Do these free travellers pad out the commuting numbers so drastically, that they must be made exempt?

    It's a true point that OAPs are a historically strong and vocal voting base, but using the statistical power of Anecdotal Evidence, the number of (obvious) OAPs I'd see on a Dublin Bus during peak times is negligible - bar the one or two sitting in their designated seats.

    Yeah, but it's not just OAPs who have them. There's likely plenty on your bus that have them that aren't obvious.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,606 ✭✭✭schemingbohemia


    listermint wrote: »
    I think he does have a point, Id be for it, but coupled with a sweeping and wide change of the whole scheme.

    It needs to be torn down entirely and started again, because in its current form its literally a money hole and we are filling it in. Open abuse and no checks balances or verification.

    but too look at the comments on the journal its a sacred cow not to be touched nor discussed. I suspect commentary from free availers..

    In some ways it's not a money hole as the amount paid for it has remained the same €77m for a good number of years.
    However, the numbers eligible to travel has increased year on year so the "loss" to the PT companies is significantly more as they are severely underpaid for the service.

    It's also valid on Aircoach services which is a bit OTT when it can't be used on Swords Express or many of the other private operators.


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,500 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    Public transport fares for most services dont have peak or off peak times anyway so its a bit of an arbitrary distinction.

    Presumably as well most people will only get a peak time bus or train if they absolutely have to get somewhere at a certain time because otherwise they will be wedged in.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    There might be some justification to restricting its use only after, say, 9:30 am. This would restrict its use for hospital appointment journeys, but who has more than a few appointments in a month?

    This restriction could be backed with a concession fare of say a euro for use during that time. The benefit of this approach is it is simple to understand, and simple to implement. For example, a main line train that starts at 9:05 am for a 2 hour journey would issue a FTP ticket at a cost of €1, but not for the earlier train leaving at 7:05, but the larter train at 11:05 would be free.

    Another restriction that might be worth considering is to restrict its use to the person in the photo. No spouse, no companion, no borrowed passes. Again, this is the source of some abuse that could be eliminated. If someone needs accompanying, then the person either pays the fare or is issued with a special card, restricted to travel with the other person they are accompanying.

    However, the FTP should be always be given to the elderly because we force them off the road by refusing them driving licences.

    However, there is zero chance of any of these ideas getting even a rudimentary consideration - there are too many votes in it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,581 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    There might be some justification to restricting its use only after, say, 9:30 am. This would restrict its use for hospital appointment journeys, but who has more than a few appointments in a month?

    This restriction could be backed with a concession fare of say a euro for use during that time. The benefit of this approach is it is simple to understand, and simple to implement. For example, a main line train that starts at 9:05 am for a 2 hour journey would issue a FTP ticket at a cost of €1, but not for the earlier train leaving at 7:05, but the larter train at 11:05 would be free.

    Another restriction that might be worth considering is to restrict its use to the person in the photo. No spouse, no companion, no borrowed passes. Again, this is the source of some abuse that could be eliminated. If someone needs accompanying, then the person either pays the fare or is issued with a special card, restricted to travel with the other person they are accompanying.

    However, the FTP should be always be given to the elderly because we force them off the road by refusing them driving licences.

    However, there is zero chance of any of these ideas getting even a rudimentary consideration - there are too many votes in it.

    We could restrict it to those not eligible for a driving licence.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    blanch152 wrote: »
    We could restrict it to those not eligible for a driving licence.

    Not as simple as that.

    I know a few people in their eighties who still drive - but usually only in daylight and locally. No long journeys anymore. Without their car they would be house bound. Without their FTP they would be unable to visit relatives or socialise at night.

    Anyone over 70 looking to renew the driving licence has to have a medical examination by a doctor, including eyesight. If they pass, they get a three year licence. An eighty year old gets a one year licence.

    Many give up because it is too much hassle - another step towards the old folks home and the grave.

    The FTP is a major benefit for those over 66 because it opens up much greater opportunities for socialising and this improves their long-term well-being and improve the health outlook. This reduces their need for medical interventions and helps sustain their quality of life - even improving it.

    Now the few restrictions I mentioned above would not impinge on those benefits.


  • Registered Users Posts: 486 ✭✭Pixel Eater


    Should they just charge a nominal fee for a travel pass? Say between €10-€20 (Say €20 for Dublin as there has the highest number of transport options. €15 for the other cities and €10 for the rest of the country).

    Pensioners are well catered for in this country (and rightly so) with a generous State pension, free travel, free healthcare, heating allowance etc. but a small fee towards travel would help the various transport operators while not being much of a burden to the elderly. Completely free travel simply isn't sustainable in the long run.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    Should they just charge a nominal fee for a travel pass? Say between €10-€20 (Say €20 for Dublin as there has the highest number of transport options. €15 for the other cities and €10 for the rest of the country).

    Pensioners are well catered for in this country (and rightly so) with a generous State pension, free travel, free healthcare, heating allowance etc. but a small fee towards travel would help the various transport operators while not being much of a burden to the elderly. Completely free travel simply isn't sustainable in the long run.

    There is a contributory pension which is earned by contributions. The non-contributory pension is means tested, as is the medical card (free healthcare - otherwise it is the same for everyone), and the heating (fuel) allowance is also means tested.

    There are several models for the future of the FTP -
    1: charge for its issue,
    2: charge for its use,
    3: charge for its use during peak periods,
    4: charge for its use on particular journeys.
    5: make qualification for it harder, so fewer qualify say by a means test.

    Oddities: For example, the Aircoach from the airport to CC is covered, but the Dublin Bus 747 to the CC is not. There are other oddities.

    Disability parking cards (the blue ones) are charged for - I think €40 for two years. I have not heard complaints about this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 486 ✭✭Pixel Eater


    There is a contributory pension which is earned by contributions. The non-contributory pension is means tested, as is the medical card (free healthcare - otherwise it is the same for everyone), and the heating (fuel) allowance is also means tested.

    There are several models for the future of the FTP -
    1: charge for its issue,
    2: charge for its use,
    3: charge for its use during peak periods,
    4: charge for its use on particular journeys.
    5: make qualification for it harder, so fewer qualify say by a means test.

    Oddities: For example, the Aircoach from the airport to CC is covered, but the Dublin Bus 747 to the CC is not. There are other oddities.

    Disability parking cards (the blue ones) are charged for - I think €40 for two years. I have not heard complaints about this.




    Well, presuming they are means tested and are not in the receipt of a State pension, then they have accumulated wealth through a property asset or a private pension; either way should be charged something for using public transport.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    Well, presuming they are means tested and are not in the receipt of a State pension, then they have accumulated wealth through a property asset or a private pension; either way should be charged something for using public transport.

    When you say 'State Pension' are you talking about the contributory state pension or the type of pension enjoyed be retired (and not so retired) politicians and civil servants who enjoy pensions of 50% of the current incumbent's salary, which may be much more than the final salary they enjoyed.

    Which of the options I suggested would you favour? Or none?


  • Registered Users Posts: 486 ✭✭Pixel Eater


    When you say 'State Pension' are you talking about the contributory state pension or the type of pension enjoyed be retired (and not so retired) politicians and civil servants who enjoy pensions of 50% of the current incumbent's salary, which may be much more than the final salary they enjoyed.

    Which of the options I suggested would you favour? Or none?


    Any pension paid by the State really; non-contributory, public servants, all are generous. Let's not slip into the level of the 'journal.ie' comment section debate on overpaid politicians pensions. Or get hung-up on pensions, we're discussing free travel passes.


    As I said charge a nominal fee for it's issue; your first option.
    In addition could charge a small amount for each journey: a fiver for inter city, €2 for shorter trips and free within cities.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    OK so are we going to provide alternate transport to doctor/hospital appointments? Or therapy sessions?

    Nonsense, it's smoke being cast to hide inefficiency


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,581 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    OK so are we going to provide alternate transport to doctor/hospital appointments? Or therapy sessions?

    Nonsense, it's smoke being cast to hide inefficiency

    The HSE pays over €25m for taxis for the elderly and the disabled to get to doctor/hospital appointments. The taxpayer is paying twice, once for the free travel pass and the second time for the taxi bill.

    One or other of them should be enough.

    And why should pensioner Bertie Ahern get a free trip to hospital?


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,925 ✭✭✭✭BonnieSituation


    subpar wrote: »
    Secretary General of the Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform Robert Watt has got into hot water and been told to get back into his box by Government Ministers for suggesting that OAP'S and other qualified individuals who use the free travel scheme be restricted to using the service at non peak times only.

    Does he have a point.


    Absolutely. Public transport is heaving in the mornings and evening. How galling is it for students and employees to watch a full bus go past which might have free travel users on it.

    I say this as a complete supporter of the scheme. But come on... Something's gotta give sometime. And the cosseted OAPs need a root up the hole.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,598 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage


    Is there any actual evidence of large numbers of OAPs travelling in the morning rush hour? What is the actual data?
    When I retire I am certainly not getting up at 7am to go into town with a lot of unsociable millennials on an overcrowded bus.

    As for hospital appointments, perhaps Dubliners should be given 9am appointments and allowed on the bus so that others from outside Dublin can be given later appointments that they can actually get to on public transport.

    Watt would do better to ensure there were enough buses.


  • Registered Users Posts: 486 ✭✭Pixel Eater


    Watt would do better to ensure there were enough buses.


    Well if the OAPs paid a little then maybe there would be more money for some extra buses.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 18 dpd666


    Would have to present some kind of data for me. This all sounds very like Leo and his musings about below cost alcohol sales not far from the Dail. I would give Junkies some kind of voucher for in and out stop them hanging around town.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,984 ✭✭✭spaceHopper


    No it's horse sh1t to deflect attention. We have public transport that is at full capacity and Dublin corpo are deliberately obstructing cars from getting into the city. It's a joke. Blaming a few older people who might be 1 or 2 % of the people in the bus. People don't get up early for no reason if they are on the bus they probably need to be there


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,348 ✭✭✭GhostyMcGhost


    subpar wrote: »
    Secretary General of the Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform Robert Watt has got into hot water and been told to get back into his box by Government Ministers for suggesting that OAP'S and other qualified individuals who use the free travel scheme be restricted to using the service at non peak times only.

    Does he have a point.

    https://m.independent.ie/irish-news/irish-rail-to-immediately-deploy-additional-security-to-dublin-northside-services-37038243.html

    “Mortgage slaves” have had to put up with welfare spongers, junkies and wasters causing absolute carnage every where they go.

    The bus/train are similar in the amount of antisocial behaviour going on. Many times I’ve been on a bus that won’t go near Finglas or Clondalkin over safety fears

    But yeah, us “mortgage slaves” are really put out by a few OAPs travelling around. Let’s go after the most vulnerable and soft targets.

    What a completely insulting way to divert from the real issue. When I work my bollox off and come across lads like that, THATS what pisses me off... that, and this poxy government trying to turn us against each other at every turn. The social divide is HUGE in this country thanks to FG

    TL;DR

    No, he’s not right... By any stretch of the imagination


Advertisement