Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow, John Brady has expressed his concern at the failure of the Government to extend the Short Hope Zone from Kilcoole as far as Arklow. Under the current catchment area of the Short Hop Zone rail users can use a Leap Card as far as Kilcoole. But, passengers wishing to travel onto Wicklow or Arklow must either book a ticket online or purchase at the train station. The extra cost involved represents a penalisation of rail users in Wicklow.
“It is not acceptable that rail passengers in Wicklow are being asked to pay extra just because Leap Cards are not accepted after from Kilcoole onwards travelling south.
The Government may be advising more people to leave their cars behind and to use public transport instead. But they are doing little to make rail travel an attractive alternative, instead we have rail users in Wicklow and Arklow who are being penalised for using the train.
This is a poor service for which passengers are being penalised by being asked to pay more for. This is not acceptable. This amounts to the deliberate penalisation of rail users in Wicklow and Arklow, at a time when there needs to be financial incentives in place to encourage people to use the train.
I have consistently pushed for the provision of extra train services, and increased capacity. I also want to call for the extension of the Short Hop zone as far as Arklow.
It appears that the Government is content to issue platitudes and appeals in the name of the environment but are prepared to do little in the way of improving services or making them more economically equitable for passengers.
I intend to further raise this matter with the Minister, and the National Transport Authority (NTA) at the earliest opportunity.”