"The provision of free and accessible transport would positively affect every single person and community in the country."
A motion has been passed in the Dáil which calls on the Government to provide free and accessible public transport throughout Ireland.
The Independent Group brought forward the non-binding motion on Wednesday (5 October), with Donegal TD Thomas Pringle describing it as a "sensible proposal" that would address many issues facing people across the country.
Moving the motion in the Dáil, the TD said it would be a means of tackling "increased fuel costs, the significant rise of carbon emissions in recent years, the reliability and accessibility issues we are currently experiencing with our public transit services and the lack of services we are seeing in our rural communities in general".
Pringle also stated that the "provision of free and accessible transport would positively affect every single person and community in the country", before adding that there was no doubt that Donegal was "at the heart" of the motion.
"It has become a running joke that not having a train service is a personality trait for Donegal people," he told the Dáil.
"There seems to be a general consensus that we can't introduce ourselves or talk about where we are from without first confirming the fact that our part of the world is so neglected that we don't even have access to a train."
Pringle also said that fare-free public transport is far from a novel idea, stating that over 100 cities have made public transport free and that there were more "taking the leap every month".
Among the calls to the Government included in the motion are as follows:
- Provide free public transport
- Invest in rural transport addressing frequency, flexibility, reliability, and accessibility
- Invest in upgrading buses and trains
- Ensure that all buses are accessible to people with disabilities beyond the current capacity of one wheelchair at any given time
- Implement appropriate planning and design changes to rail services to ensure that wheelchair users and disabled people are able to travel without notice
The Government did not oppose the motion.