Maman Poulet has bravely attempted to show "the misconceptions that rail travel in Ireland is expensive", quoting comparisons of fares on a cost per kn basis published by Irish Rail. Quite rightly, she expects cynisism on my part.
First of all, as mentioned, the survey's being published by Irish Rail. One thing I have learnt about statistics is that who commissioned the survey and who is publishing it and the expected result are as important as the numerical outcome itself. My faith in an Irish Rail survey is minimal.
However, she makes a very good point and I would agree with her that public subvention is at the core of the debate and that subventions here are not in par with other European countries. I made a quick comparison between France and Ireland and here are the results. The numbers speak for themselves.
Another given is that costs of running trains are going up. However, I am sure that all trains currently "traveling" the length and breadth of the country and purchased eons ago have now been paid for twice over. Any company makes provisions and amortisations, especially ones whose assets need replacing every so often. I would assume CIE did because otherwise th3y would be the biggest tits on earth and then ask: where did the money go? Where are the new trains? The new engines? Maintaining the existing fleet is probably what is killing them. It's time to cut their losses. They seem to be so committed to the "Learn more about Iarnród Éireann's investment plans" page on their website that is down.
As for the price increase being justified by the rising petrol prices. Well, there's some saving to be done by changing the trains there too. Technological advances mean that engines are getting more performant, less polluting etc etc... they'd use less petrol for a start.
My last question I guess would be to ask... Price increase for the customer? Fine. But is it going to be matched by an increase in public subventions or are we going to have to bear the brunt of it? It's bad enough that we have to use the bloody thing.
Categories: Ireland; CIE; rail