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Free public transport

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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,286 Mod ✭✭✭✭ devnull


    Zebra3 wrote: »

    But it's not free public transport is it?

    It's just moving the burden from the farepayer to the taxpayer. It's just going to have to be funded either by higher taxes to raise an extra two billion or so euro needed to fund it, or by taking the same amount of other budgets.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,471 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    that's assuming there's no knock-on benefits from this; and is easily parodied into an argument against provision of lots of other state services.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,907 ✭✭✭ Stephen15


    I support the concept of having fares subsidised to some degree to keep them at a reasonable level which passengers can afford like the £1.50 bus hopper fare over in London or the introduction of a 90 minute bus, Luas, Dart fare during BC.

    FOC public transport is a ridiculous idea as it would mean the majority of government investment in public transport would go into making it free rather improving public transport.

    Government investment in public transport my should be used to fund the capital costs of the procurement of rolling stock or buses and the construction of infrastructure aswell as the subsidy of fares but more importantly making the fares user friendly ie integrated ticketing, contactless payments, ticket vending machines and smart cards.

    Fare revenue should be used for the day to day running costs of running buses/trains such as fuel, wages and maintenance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭✭ RuleNumber6


    Making public transport free will just push everything beyond capacity, quickly. Subsidised I agree is good - but stimulating demand without necessary capacity increases would be detrimental.

    I would even argue something similar could be said of the new dart timetable. More frequent trains stimulates demand- but no increase in rolling stock. So demand increases, but capacity does not.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    But we spend billions on roads that are free to use, and end up beyond capacity...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 252 ✭✭ newirishman


    Making public transport free will just push everything beyond capacity, quickly. Subsidised I agree is good - but stimulating demand without necessary capacity increases would be detrimental.

    I would even argue something similar could be said of the new dart timetable. More frequent trains stimulates demand- but no increase in rolling stock. So demand increases, but capacity does not.

    There is no capacity left at rush hours in Dublin’s public transport system, as anyone knows how still dares to use it. The system is overall well crap.

    What exactly is the “free”public transport going to solve?


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,406 ✭✭✭✭ Eric Cartman


    Making public transport free will just push everything beyond capacity, quickly. Subsidised I agree is good - but stimulating demand without necessary capacity increases would be detrimental.

    I would even argue something similar could be said of the new dart timetable. More frequent trains stimulates demand- but no increase in rolling stock. So demand increases, but capacity does not.

    and in true irish form like parents with medical cards bringing their kids to the doctor for every cough , it will be filled with a certain amount of people just abusing it because they can.

    Homeless people sleeping on longer routes would be an issue also.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,240 ✭✭✭ Jimbob1977


    If Luxembourg abolish fares, the funding to provide the transport would have to come from taxation or state borrowing.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch, despite the good intentions.

    Driving on 'free roads' is funded by the pool of general taxation (into which motor tax is lodged).


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,216 ✭✭✭ sharper


    I would wonder if the other areas where public transport was made free had the equivalent of the free travel pass system. The "vulnerable groups" mentioned already travel for free in Ireland.

    I'm not in favour of this for Ireland. Far too much is already dependent on PAYE income tax to pay for absolutely everything.

    I already find it bizarre that revenue is being left standing in the rain at peak times (most recent increases in capacity seem to be outside peak) and when the public transport system becomes one massive expense then there's little incentive to ever expand it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,089 ✭✭✭ jackofalltrades


    Zebra3 wrote: »
    Lot to be said for it.
    Such as?
    The article's a bit light on detail and I don't like the idea of levying tourists alone.
    That and a lot of people don't respect things that are free.
    But we spend billions on roads that are free to use...
    If you're a pedestrian, cyclist or on a horse. Otherwise they're certainly not free.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,216 ✭✭✭ sharper


    If you're a pedestrian, cyclist or on a horse. Otherwise they're certainly not free.

    Pedestrians and cyclists pay for the roads via their taxes too.

    You're right about the horses though, they're abusing the system. We probably don't want them using public transport.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,803 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    and I don't like the idea of levying tourists alone.

    Basel, which has a 50% reduction in PT fares for locals, provides for people staying in proper tourist accommodation (so not someones unregistered AirBnB) to get entirely 'free' travel paid for by the room taxes. Of course we don't have room taxes to begin with, but its something that can be considered.

    Booking email printed out suffices for the airport bus in and at check in you get a 30 day all modes ticket.


  • Registered Users Posts: 758 ✭✭✭ alentejo


    In the longer rune, I think if we are going to have bigger government subvention for PT esp if the likes of Busconnects restricts car access into our cities. Not necessarily free PT, but high frequency-low cost mass transit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭ Cilar


    It's all about creating policies to reduce private car use to benefit overall society (less pollution, noise, accidents, more liveable city centers designed for pedestrians, famillies, cyclists).

    People pointing out it's not free overall are missing the entire point. Sure it's not free overall, but it's cheaper overall for users if everybody contributes. Governing is about making choices and in this case rewarding people contributing positively to society. Current system is backward as roads are free and subsided beside some paid motorways. There is no road tax (don't confuse with motor tax that is actually used to finance water).

    There is also an aspect around cost reduction. State would have more weight to negociate down cost per passenger.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,907 ✭✭✭ Stephen15


    I don't think it would create capacity issues per se as it's generally cheaper to use public transport than running a car. In fact if you ask people why they don't use public transport cost would be fairly low on the list of reasons. Free public transport is a waste of taxpayer money that could be better spend on improving public transport infrastructure, frequency, reliablity and passenger experience which is far more likely to get people out their cars than cost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,463 ✭✭✭✭ lawred2


    Zebra3 wrote: »

    Dublin's public transport is over capacity already at peak times.

    And with the amount of free travel passes and whatnot, it's near free for all the usual suspects anyway.

    Dublin needs more fee payers and more public transport.

    The taxpayer pays on the double here. For themselves and for everyone else.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,538 ✭✭✭ howiya


    Cheaper public transport yes. Free public transport no.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,597 ✭✭✭ Xterminator


    But even cheaper public transport doesnt make sense at the moment because we are at absolute maximum capacity & lower fares will only drive demand that cannot be met.

    I'm not against it in theory but practically if any more taxpayers money is invested, it should be in capacity not lower fares. Public purse not a bottomless pit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,299 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    I wouldn't agree with it in Dublin, Galway, Limerickor Cork, because these cities are large with distant suburbs (some 10km+ commutes), most commutes are below 5km so walking and cycling needs to be incentivized which can't be done when PT is free at point of consumption. Bus capacity should be retained for longer journeys, also models show that Dublin modal share is relatively insensitive to fares. Town services in Drogheda, Dundalk, Navan, Athlone, Cavan, Kilkenny, Ennis, Tralee, Portlaoise, Clonmel, Wexfod, Carlow, Sligo, Letterkenny and Mullingar should be free(i.e. tax payer funded) or have an extremely low fare: €0.50 on leap or €0.96 in cash primarily because the modal share in these places are abysmal, the distant suburbs aren't an issue. These towns should also have bus and cycling priority streets and I believe this is the plan in Kilkenny(about damn time), which is a very densely populated town by Irish standards. Of course all these town buses should be electric single deckers and operate every 15 mins. Irish towns have to be more amenable places to live.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,299 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    sharper wrote: »
    I would wonder if the other areas where public transport was made free had the equivalent of the free travel pass system. The "vulnerable groups" mentioned already travel for free in Ireland.

    I'm not in favour of this for Ireland. Far too much is already dependent on PAYE income tax to pay for absolutely everything.

    I already find it bizarre that revenue is being left standing in the rain at peak times (most recent increases in capacity seem to be outside peak) and when the public transport system becomes one massive expense then there's little incentive to ever expand it.

    It's really unusual to have free PT for certain groups. This doesn't exist many other places. Most of Europe have discounts for the elderly, children and unemployed but that's about it. The Irish welfare state has overstretched it's self generally speaking, not just in terms of transport. We also subsidise home heating oil for certain groups but have no incentives for domestic renewables, derp.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,058 ✭✭✭ Emme


    lawred2 wrote: »
    Dublin's public transport is over capacity already at peak times.

    And with the amount of free travel passes and whatnot, it's near free for all the usual suspects anyway.

    Dublin needs more fee payers and more public transport.

    The taxpayer pays on the double here. For themselves and for everyone else.

    I agree 100%. Public transport into Dublin from commuter counties is also over capacity at peak times. It's possible (I don't want to insult anyone here or start an avanlanche of accusations and angry demands that taxpayers keep their gobs shut and keep paying up) that many people on it at this time already travel for free.

    If you want to make the best use of public transport make it free at specified off peak times only apart from certain groups such as the disabled or elderly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭ XPS_Zero


    devnull wrote: »
    But it's not free public transport is it?

    It's just moving the burden from the farepayer to the taxpayer. It's just going to have to be funded either by higher taxes to raise an extra two billion or so euro needed to fund it, or by taking the same amount of other budgets.



    Jimbob1977 wrote: »
    If Luxembourg abolish fares, the funding to provide the transport would have to come from taxation or state borrowing.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch, despite the good intentions.

    Driving on 'free roads' is funded by the pool of general taxation (into which motor tax is lodged).





    As someone involved in politics on a daily basis hearing this CONSTANTLY I gotta say I really really hate this point. When you say you are in favor of free education/healthcare etc and someone snarkily, in a tone that suggests nobody ever considered this puffs out their chest and sasy "you know...it's not ACTUALLY free, it's paid for by taxpayers"...yes...we know...we already know...you don't need to tell us...we know...ok? WE KNOW Nobody thought it meant ACTUALLY FREE in that it's funded by fresh air ok? Nobody has ever said "this should be free" referring to a govt service and thought that...ever.


    We mean free at the point of use ok? Now can people stop smarmily bringing this up in debates? It's not a clever, it's not the devastating counter argument people seem to think it is, it's just pointing out the bloody obvious.




    sharper wrote: »
    I would wonder if the other areas where public transport was made free had the equivalent of the free travel pass system. The "vulnerable groups" mentioned already travel for free in Ireland.

    I'm not in favour of this for Ireland. Far too much is already dependent on PAYE income tax to pay for absolutely everything.

    I already find it bizarre that revenue is being left standing in the rain at peak times (most recent increases in capacity seem to be outside peak) and when the public transport system becomes one massive expense then there's little incentive to ever expand it.



    87% of your taxes go on health, education and social welfare. The rest is things like the security services, military, administration and a smattering of other services. None of which is remotely unique to Ireland or even slightly unusual compared to other countries. Which of these would you suggest we get rid of and make private and funded by commercial fees?
    Nearly all of them would cost way more for individuals to shoulder than spread out over society as a whole which is why we do them via tax in the first place.






    As to the overall topic:


    Yes it's clearly worth doing (given the UN climate report...) to get middle class people out of their cars but would not work on it's own, because the system atm is not good enough, not attractive enough or efficient enough to pull them out of the cars even with free travel being universal. So to make it work it would need to come with a package of incentives. We'd have to have spent about 5-10 years first spending a good 10-20billion massively upgrading the system (and that would be worth it too), finally finish T21 but go further, way further. We would not get that done without first having new planning laws so Mary can't say the tunneling will make pictures in her living room fall down. So if we could do that with this it would be worth it.


    Were going to have to start thinking about radical solutions like this with the climate change issue bearing down hard on us.


  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭ XPS_Zero


    lawred2 wrote: »
    Dublin's public transport is over capacity already at peak times.

    And with the amount of free travel passes and whatnot, it's near free for all the usual suspects anyway.

    Dublin needs more fee payers and more public transport.

    The taxpayer pays on the double here. For themselves and for everyone else.


    Would you care to explain what this means?
    Why people on Disability (3/4 of which obtained the disability during their working lives) and Senior Citizens who have spent their entire lives paying into the pot, are "the usual suspects" which has clear negative air about it?


    ...and how just under 1m traveling free out of a population of nearly 5m (not including NI which is also covered by our own FT scheme and theirs) working age population of 3m means "it's nearly free" already?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,907 ✭✭✭ Stephen15


    XPS_Zero wrote: »
    As to the overall topic:


    Yes it's clearly worth doing (given the UN climate report...) to get middle class people out of their cars but would not work on it's own, because the system atm is not good enough, not attractive enough or efficient enough to pull them out of the cars even with free travel being universal. So to make it work it would need to come with a package of incentives. We'd have to have spent about 5-10 years first spending a good 10-20billion massively upgrading the system (and that would be worth it too), finally finish T21 but go further, way further. We would not get that done without first having new planning laws so Mary can't say the tunneling will make pictures in her living room fall down. So if we could do that with this it would be worth it.


    Were going to have to start thinking about radical solutions like this with the climate change issue bearing down hard on us.

    Except free public transport won't get people out of their cars it won't do anything to reduce climate change or emissions. The only people who it may attract to use public transport would be people who already use sustainable modes of transport ie walking or cycling to use public transport instead. More people will likely end up using public transport to go short journeys which they would otherwise walk.

    It's a waste of money making public transport free as that money would be better off used to actually improve public transport through improving infrastructure, buying more buses or rolling stock and improving the passenger experience. If you surveyed groups of car only users what was the main thing putting them off using public transport I would make a bet and say that cost would be fairly low down on the list of reasons as if it was the main reason they would already be using public transport as it's already cheaper to use public transport than run a car.

    Whereas making actual improvements to public transport such as building the Metro, bus connects, increasing DART capacity, DART underground and DART extensions to Maynooth, Hazelhatch and Balbriggan will actually encourage people out their cars and onto pt.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,420 ✭✭✭✭ Losty Dublin


    Luxembourg has a few differences going for it to Ireland in relation to their free travel proposals.
    • It has a land mass of 999 square miles is about the same as County Meath and it needs to shift a population of 600,000 and 200,000 additional workers who travel into the Dutchy on a daily basis.
    • It's GDP is about €900 a month greater than Irelands. Therefore it has the taxes to cover same.
    • It also has a government who used free transport as an election manifesto pledge to get into power. The nuts and bolts of this scheme still need to be planned, such as ensuring they too have capacity of fleet and drivers to handle this, as well as adjusting their routes to ensure people are moved to where they need to be. If this doesn't work then it could revert back to paid travel.
    • It has a chronic road congestion problem that urgently needs tackling.

    This scheme will be closely monitored by all concerned to see how it gets on :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,134 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble


    Public transport is shared transport which is available for anyone to use. So it includes aeroplanes, for example. Do you really think they should be free at point of use?

    If not define what you mean by public transport.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,299 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    XPS_Zero wrote: »

    87% of your taxes go on health, education and social welfare. The rest is things like the security services, military, administration and a smattering of other services. None of which is remotely unique to Ireland or even slightly unusual compared to other countries. Which of these would you suggest we get rid of and make private and funded by commercial fees?

    Well there's a lot in that, that is completely superfluous. For example giving old people and junkies free transport when most other countries just have a discounted rate. Or putting thousands of people up in hotels or into private apartments and the state paying more than €1000 of their monthly rent. Most other countries would save that money and just build an appropriate number of social housing units and not sell them off. But the present lot are ideologically opposed to the cheaper social housing model. We could not pay medical consultants who double job and don't turn up to work in their public health role. We could remove the massive volume of middle managers in the HSE and replace them with properly paid and resourced nurses.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,252 ✭✭✭✭ Hotblack Desiato


    In an Irish context this is pretty must the stupidest idea ever. PT is bursting at the seams already.

    Plenty of naivety on this thread. Hasn't anyone heard of the tragedy of the commons?

    "12 pages in and it still needs to be explained to some posters why this guy ended up where he did. It probably explains why so many gobshites get elected in this country."



  • Registered Users Posts: 17,324 ✭✭✭✭ Thargor


    Public transport is shared transport which is available for anyone to use. So it includes aeroplanes, for example. Do you really think they should be free at point of use?

    If not define what you mean by public transport.

    :rolleyes:


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  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 34,641 Mod ✭✭✭✭ AlmightyCushion


    Public transport is shared transport which is available for anyone to use. So it includes aeroplanes, for example. Do you really think they should be free at point of use?

    If not define what you mean by public transport.

    Really? Do you honestly think people are saying the state should provide free flights for everyone?

    I think it's something we should definitely look at. However, the priority should be improving public transport infrastructure (busconnects, metro, etc.). We should definitely be reducing prices of public transport gradually instead of just making it free. We need to start encouraging people out of their cars. Better, cheaper public transport will help do that.


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