- Gavan Reilly - https://gavreilly.com -

Public Transport and Broadband

Do Ministers actually ever talk to each other? You have to wonder. Maybe Fine Gael are doing such sniping these days that the cabinet have to divert their attention to fending off the opposition rather than managing to attend meetings, or lob each other the odd text message.

Last week, trying to capitalise on the empty news cycles, the Government launched [1] their Sustainable Travel and Transport Action Plan, basically encouraging people to use public transport in getting to work – or better yet, get them to try and work from home as much as practicable. Not a bad idea – anything to get cars off the road surely helps the country out, and saving the inevitably arduous task of having to build another lane onto the M50 in, oh, about three weeks.

But then, as quietly as they could manage it, we had the subtle [2] news [3] – ironically, while people weren’t supposed to be reading the papers – that Luas ticket prices are going up by 5c, Dublin Bus are raising their fares by 10c a pop, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann are hiking them by 10% – even the already ludicrously overpriced taxis are getting another 50c put on the initial fare.

Now, it doesn’t take the TK Whitakers of this world to realise that this, rather than stimulating their use, will put them off. What’s particularly irking, though, is that such moves come at a time when it’s becoming gradually cheaper to drive. Granted, cars aren’t getting cheaper, but insurance – the thing that usually stops 22-year-old males from The Pale like myself from taking to the roads – has become more realistically priced, and petrol is constantly coming down. The Esso across the road from my student gaff sold diesel for 119.5c a litre when we moved in last May – now it’s down to 93.5c, and it’s not going to get any higher for a while, no matter what swindles OPEC might try to unleash on the rest of the world.

What’s worse, these price hikes come just when public transport is cheaper to operate! Oil is getting cheaper, we’re in a recession, we’re bordering on price deflation, there’s attempts to try and public stabilise wages so the drivers aren’t costing more, the Government is trying to keep tabs on inflation for a plethora of reasons… All in all, it’s cheaper to drive, and CIE seem to be doing their damndest to make us do it – even while Noel Dempsey (my local TD! Lucky guy, eh?) is hellbent on trying to reverse it.

And what’s going to power this technological revolution, this unparalleled new iteration of Irish society? That’s right, it’s a rickety 3 modem [4] that only works if you’ve appeared on a recent Prime Time [5] or live somewhere that begins with the letter N.

I wonder. Have Noel Dempsey and Eamon Ryan ever met? Come to think of it, have you ever seen them both in the same place at the same time? I might be onto something here… maybe Noel could add Eamo as a friend [6] on Boards.ie.

Actually, no, wait, scratch that. You probably can’t get broadband in Noel’s part of Trim – you certainly can’t in its Dublin-facing hinterlands (first-hand experience, trust me [7]). I wonder who was in charge of broadband rollout when that would have been assigned? Good luck to Ireland Offline in their comeback [8] – it’ll take a lot to overcome massive social problems like an executive branch who never seem to talk to each other.