Tolan urges NTA to address high fares for train users

Local Fine Gael Councillor, Sharon Tolan has called on Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority to immediately address the issue of high fares for train users on the Northern Line to Drogheda.

Speaking on Tuesday at the briefing for all Public Representatives of the latest public consultation process for the revised Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy, Tolan raised two important issues for East Meath and Drogheda directly with CE Anne Graham.

“If we are to encourage people to leave the car at home and use public transport then we need a fairer fare structure for Northern Line passengers at Gormanston, Laytown and Drogheda. The monthly rate for an adult from Laytown to Connolly is €237, whilst a mere 6 minutes down the line at Balbriggan it is €145. If I want to take a trip to Dublin City to shop or socialise, or indeed meet with the NTA, it would cost €21.15 for a return ticket from Laytown, but if I drove to Balbriggan I could get a return ticket for almost half the price at €11.20. In fact, it would be cheaper for me to pay for parking in Dublin City Centre than take the train from Laytown, Gormanston or Drogheda.

The 2016 Census was an eye opener for everyone except the NTA, the Department of Transport or our Senior decision makers according to Tolan. She added:

"The commuter figures for Laytown-Bettystown showed 501 people were taking the train to work, 805 using the bus and a massive 9764 drove by car! Ms Graham told me that the NTA will be looking at a revised fare structure during this review, but this needs to be addressed now.

"22,000 vehicles travel through Julianstown on a daily basis, many of them either driving to Balbriggan train station to avail of a cheaper fare or driving to work in Dublin as the cost of rail travel remains too prohibitive. If the NTA were to introduce a fare parity with Balbriggan, 501 passengers buying a monthly ticket would result in a loss of revenue of just €46,092 each month, this would easily be recouped by the extra passengers that would be encouraged to use a more cost effective service.

"While I welcome the commitment to the DART + Coastal Scheme and the timeline of 2025 to see a service in operation to Drogheda, we also need to plan for two more train stations. I recently secured an objective in our County Development Plan for a new train station in Bettystown and at Colpe, South Drogheda. These are two densely populated areas on the Northern Line, and the delivery of a DART station for both would further ensure we encourage more people to use public transport. Ms Graham again committed to an assessment of new train stations as part of the strategy review. I will be raising these issues again with government.”