Westport Labour councillor Keith Martin has called on Irish Rail to reverse new fare increases on the Westport to Dublin route which he said are proving a “disincentive to rail travel and will impact on visitor numbers to the town this year”.
Cllr Martin added: “Rail fares are already too expensive – at €37 one way to Dublin – one could fly to London or Rome with Ryanair for the same price. It is time we see rail prices cut and subsidised from carbon taxes. At the moment these funds go into the Government's coffers when they should be used to promote sustainable transport such as train travel.
“It is far too expensive to travel by train in this country. On mainland Europe rail travel is a cheap way to travel. Here in Ireland it is still charged at luxury prices. It is time that we had cheap train travel, especially on intercity routes such as the Westport to Dublin line which are vital to our local and national tourism and business economy.
“Irish Rail have finally given us the extra services and new trains that we, as a community, have lobbied for. Now they go and ruin it by gouging rail users for more money during a recession.
“This increase is a mistake and should be reversed. I would urge consumers, businesses, councils, and chambers of commerce to make their feelings known to Irish Rail. Train travel should be cheaper than air travel. Irish Rail need to rethink their business model along the lines of Ryanair and not the Orient Express."