Local Fine Gael Minister of State, Deputy Peter Burke, has called on the National Transport Authority (NTA ) to introduce a flexi-commuter ticket, in line with the commitment they made to him last year.
Minister Burke contacted Irish Rail and the NTA on the matter last year, who advised the issue was being examined but it was unlikely a product would be finalised during 2021.
“Now that we are in a new calendar year, another year with Covid-19 where working from home is advised, I am calling on the NTA to finalise their plans and introduce flexi-tickets for commuters who no longer need to be in Dublin on a daily basis.
“Even without restrictions in place, we have seen the benefits that working from home, even on a part-time basis, can bring. Employees are more productive without a two or three hour commute, work-life balance is massively improved and less money is spent on commuting and the costs associated with being away from home for the working week.
“We need a train ticket introduced to reflect this need suited to those who may only need to be in work one/two/three days a week, rather than the full price monthly or annual ticket.
“The NTA have had almost two years to consider this change and it is imperative that this ticket is introduced as soon as possible. I have raised this again directly with the CEO of the NTA as well as Minister Eamon Ryan.
“Last November, we saw the 90 minute fare introduced capping all journeys taken in the Greater Dublin Area during 90 minutes on rail, LUAS and DART at €2.30. Soon there will be half price tickets for under 23s on all public transport nationwide. We now need a product for commuters, who make up a large cohort of those using public transport daily.
“For those who commute from Westmeath and the surrounding areas, the annual ticket is a significant cost and clarity is now needed for those workers ahead of purchasing this ticket.
“The silver lining of the pandemic for many is the ability to carry out work effectively from your own home, and for those who can do this, the Government must continue to support them through measures such as a flexi-commuter ticket. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has already introduced a remote work policy, increased tax incentives and brought forward right to disconnect policies. The NTA must now fulfil their side, as committed to me last year,” Deputy Burke asserted.