Irish Rail’s new timetable is due to commence on 11th December with small changes overall. On the webpage announcing these changes, IR also listed the main suggestions for service improvements from the public consultation process and the reasons for such suggestions not being implemented – the main one being insufficient drivers.
One of the suggestions which I disagree with (and which IR swiftly and correctly passed over to the NTA) is that Newbridge should be brought within the Short Hop zone.
This is a ludicrous suggestion and would see a commuter in Castleknock (10km as the crow flies from Dublin City Centre) paying the same annual fare as someone in Newbridge (42km as the crow flies from Dublin City Centre).
Some would argue that the distance determinations should be based on actual rail mileage. I would argue against that as modern day commuters should not be punished for engineering and landlord appeasing decisions made over 150 years ago when railway lines were built.
If the NTA were to include Newbridge in the Short Hop Zone, they would similarly need to extend the zone to Drogheda, Wicklow Town and Enfield – not an appropriate definition of Short Hop.
A better use of NTA resources would be to move PSO bus routes in the rail short hop zone that are currently with Bus Eireann/Go Ahead Regional services to the Dublin Area contracts, extending such services into North and East Kildare, thereby standardising bus and rail services in one zone. I will declare an interest here, residing as I do in Kilcock and would therefore be a beneficiary of such a move.