Park and (be taken for a) Ride

The authors of a report called ”The Climate Change Challenge: Strategic issues, options and implications for Ireland” have recommended that commuters pay an annual levy (of up to €4,500 in Dublin city centre) for free workplace parking spaces. They also suggest “congestion charging might be charged even in advance of major public transport improvements”.

Car-parks

Car-parks

Further on these geniuses, who are not actually named in the Irish Times front page report, estimated that the “travel demand measures would reduce congestion in the greater Dublin area by 12 percent in the morning peak and increase public transport use by 19 per cent”.

I don’t drive to work, so this doesn’t affect me. But it still infuriates me. I’m presuming these guys got paid for producing this crap. It’s a huge waste of money. Firstly because they propose the charges would apply to both the private and public sector, and there’s not a chance the civil servants will agree to it. And secondly because it’s unworkable.

There’s no indication as to where the authors live or work, so I’m guessing they’ve never been on a Luas at peak time, or travelled on the Calcutta-like 5.30 train to Enniscorthy. If they did they wouldn’t suggest increasing public transport use by 19 per cent before making major improvements. Where are the extra passengers going to go? Perhaps we could sellotape them to the roof.

Where I work we have two parking spaces, which the company pays the landlord for. They are kept for the use of clients – in other words we have no free staff parking. How would we prove that? I’m guessing the Council would just charge the company for the spaces anyway. What about larger companies with bigger car-parks, like RTE, for instance. Do they even know who drives to work and who doesn’t?

What happens if you work a four-day week? What happens if you only drive in on Fridays, so you can head home to the country to your folks after work?

The powers-that-be won’t allow high-rise development in Dublin, so there isn’t enough housing available in the city centre. They allowed banks, property developers and builders to drive up the price of housing in the suburbs so that normal people could only afford to live in the arsehole of nowhere (sorry, fellow Greystones residents). And then they rob us blind for living there.

Train robbers

Train robbers

This week Iarnrod Eireann and Dublin Bus both increased the charges on some of their Taxsaver fares. They said it was “due to a combination of increased costs and in an effort to have a consistent pricing structure for the Short Hop zone and for longer distance commuters”. Since it’s only on certain fares, I gather they didn’t have to get permission for it – certainly, I’d heard nothing about it before. The phrase “consistent price structure” is interesting. The Monthly Inner Short Hop Zone ticket, for example, rises from €90 to €103 – an increase of 14 per cent – and brings it to the same €103 that I pay for the Monthly Outer Short Hop Zone ticket. In other words, it will cost the same to travel form Greystones daily to Malahide as from Sandymount to Tara Street.

This is like charging a person who has soup at lunchtime the same price as someone who has a five-course meal with wine “to have a consistent pricing structure”.

During the summer Iarnrod Eireann announced they were going to start charging for using their car-parks. Now they’re targeting Taxsaver schemes, presumably hoping people won’t mind because they’re getting tax relief anyway (not working, two of our staff withdrew from the scheme this week). They will presumably get a big increase from January 1st anyway.

And now there other eejits want to tax people who drive to work.

Just leave us alone.

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