Kildare Labour to increase pressure on Minister to include Newbridge in train 'Short Hop Zone'

Commuters and students under pressure

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare Labour to increase pressure on Minister to include Newbridge in train 'Short Hop Zone'

File photo Newbridge Train Station. Tony Keane

Labour representatives have pledged to increase pressure on Minister Shane Ross to include Newbridge in the 'Short Hop Zone' train service.

The move comes following a meeting with the National Transport Authority (NTA). 

Last week, members of the Kildare South Labour Party met with NTA CEO Anne Graham in Leinster House.

General election candidate ,Councillor Mark Wall, Chairperson and local area representative for Newbridge, Ciara O’Reilly and Kildare South P.R.O. Mark Leigh were joined by Labour Spokesperson for Transport, Senator Kevin Humphreys and Deputy Brendan Ryan.

They discussed the urgent need to extend the “Short Hop Zone” to Newbridge. The meeting was also convened to present the NTA with it's petition of 6,000 signatories for the “Fare deal for Newbridge" campaign.

Ciara O’Reilly addressed the issue head on and highlighted the ridiculous situation where people are now driving to an overcrowded Sallins train station to get the Short Hop Zone fare, the difference between the Sallins fare and the Newbridge fare being so vast. Sallins station is now getting a larger car park to cope with the overflow of cars at great cost to the taxpayer.

Councillor Mark Wall queried as to why the NTA increased the fare for students by 10% recently and described the situation as “a regressive step and an attack on hard pressed students and their parents”.

Again he stated that workers and students described by the Taoiseach as those “who get up early” were not being helped by this Transport Minister.

Senator Kevin Humphreys asked about “capacity on that line”.

"Anne Graham NTA CEO acknowledged all our issues and admitted the line was nearly at full capacity. She also stated 'The National Transport Authority could currently do nothing about bringing Newbridge into the Short Hop Zone because of the effect it would have on the loss of revenue to the overall transport network," said Labour.

"The upshot of our this meeting is that we urgently need Minister Ross to intervene. How can he allow a 10% increase in student fares at a time of a student accommodation crisis? How can this Government provide millions of euros to build a bigger car park in Sallins, simply to accommodate vast numbers of hard pressed commuters traveling from Newbridge and South Kildare."

The party asked; "Are we not being fined enough by Europe because of our failure to reduce our carbon footprint Unfortunately the NTA’s hands are tied as the government and Minister for Transport, Shane Ross continue to sit on their hands in regard to public transport and the severe lack of funding."