Half-price fares just what it takes in plans to boost public transport and active travel
It was literally the most expensive item in the transport budget. A half-price subscription for under 24s that will facilitate commuting and public transport.
The card will be available next year to everyone in the 19-23 age group for use on all public transport, whether they are at school, at work or both.
Students are already entitled to some discounts, so the 50 coins will not add to these, but will take those discounts and increase them at half the price.
“Transportation is very expensive,” said Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, explaining the motivation behind the youth-friendly proposal.
“This is a signal that we want to resume public transport when exiting Covid. It is a signal that we want to develop this habit for life.
“It is part of our decarbonization plans and it is also a signal to these young people who commute between university and work over long distances that we want to help them in this difficult time.”
The measure is part of the 1.8 billion euros of sustainable mobility projects announced in the budget, which include measures to increase the capacity of public transport while simultaneously decarbonizing services.
They include the rollout next year of 165 new fully electric buses on city and town routes, 24 hybrid electric city buses and 81 improved efficiency diesel buses on regional and local services, as well as 41 new rail cars.
Athlone will have a fully electric city bus service by the end of next year.
Further investments in public transport will include continued improvements to the Dublin-Cork rail line to improve journey times and service reliability, as well as improvements to the Waterford-Limerick Junction line.
Preparatory work for the BusConnects Cork, Light Rail Cork and Luas Finglas projects is also to continue through the design phase.
There is a re-engagement in three major public transport projects: BusConnects, Dart + and Metrolink.
Mr Ryan acknowledged that “people are frustrated” with the pace of progress, but insisted they were moving forward and planning requests would be made for all three in the coming year.
The commitment to spend € 1 million per day on walking and cycling projects, included in the Government’s Program and reaffirmed in the National Development Plan, has been further strengthened.
A part of 60 million euros will go to the greenways, the longest routes that have tourist and practical value, and there will be more pressure on the Safe Routes to School program, which is currently facing opposition of businesses and other interests in some localities where it requires restrictions on cars.