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Unread 30-06-2014, 08:06   #1
Mark Gleeson
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Default [article] Transport firms issue threat over free travel scheme

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Transport providers have threatened to withdraw from the free travel scheme on the basis that it is not covering the cost of offering the service.
A Government working group is currently reviewing the future of the 77 million- a-year scheme, which benefits more than 780,000 people every year.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/polit...heme-1.1849661
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Unread 30-06-2014, 08:11   #2
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Irish Rail receives 14 million per year through the scheme

2013 revenue from passenger operations 166 million

DSP is paying 8.4%

10 year old data indicates 12.5% usage, likely to be closer to 15% by now
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Unread 30-06-2014, 09:13   #3
James Howard
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I personally think that re-instating some peak-time usage limits would be reasonable. It would be fairly simple to implement a mechanism where proof of a medical appointment could be used as a means to excuse any peak-time restrictions. Removing the peak-time limits was utter ludicrous auction politics and have resulted in a system that is completely out-of-kilter with the rest of Europe.

I'm not proposing that the benefit should be done away but it is pretty silly that a quarter of the population can walk up to Heuston station and get on the 5PM train to Cork on a Friday evening for nothing. Even if there was a 10 euro surcharge for peak trains, that might make people who in general have flexible timetables choose a different time or different day to travel.

Something has to change where it has to got to a point where services are being withdrawn. In areas like north Longford where there example of Whartons service was used in the article, there is a very low base of working people and the vast majority of those people need to have a car due to the geographically distributed nature of work in the area. So basically, the only people using public transport services are pass holders.

Last edited by James Howard : 30-06-2014 at 09:21.
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Unread 30-06-2014, 10:19   #4
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As a travel pass holder let me declare an interest.

I agree that the extension of the scheme to peak travel times was rotten vote-buying. But reversing the change won't necessarily give any significant financial savings, and there may be an enforcement cost. If I change from the 5pm to the 3pm to Cork, the company may in theory sell an extra seat on the 5pm. But they can sell seats anyhow even if there is only standing room and if the fare-paying passenger would have travelled on a different train due to the expectation of overcrowding on the 5pm the net result will be much the same in financial terms.

The unambiguous winners would be regular commuters to and from work, whose peak-time trains would be less overcrowded. This is a good argument for re-instating the restriction on peak-time use of travel passes. But the powers that be really don't care about that: they just want to save money, and their lack of a business brain means that they will screw up yet again.
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Unread 30-06-2014, 19:10   #5
Colm Moore
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Originally Posted by ACustomer View Post
But reversing the change won't necessarily give any significant financial savings, and there may be an enforcement cost. If I change from the 5pm to the 3pm to Cork, the company may in theory sell an extra seat on the 5pm. But they can sell seats anyhow even if there is only standing room and if the fare-paying passenger would have travelled on a different train due to the expectation of overcrowding on the 5pm the net result will be much the same in financial terms.
Peak usage is about capacity. Let us say you need 10 buses at peak time and 6 off-peak, then those 4 extra buses are the most expensive to operate - you need to buy the extra buses and employ the extra drivers. If you can shift people out of peak into off peak, you might be able to operate with 8 buses and fewer drivers. Those savings can be better put to other uses.
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Unread 01-07-2014, 08:29   #6
James Howard
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Or in Irish Rail's case, where they have 14 cars worth of passengers squeezed into 10, they might actually be able to seat their higher revenue passengers. Hence there won't be any actual savings except that the 10 cars worth of paying passengers might be willing to pay a few quid extra because the service is better.

Either way, shifting the lower-revenue passengers into off-peak traffic would be useful for the quality of service. You could even argue the case for a super-peak on Friday afternoons where commuter pass holders might be required to pay a supplement (or possibly receive a discount on their pass to avoid) to travel on the extremely busy 5PM departures if there were another suitable service.
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