Comprehensive development of our public transport infrastructure is in Ireland’s vital social and economic interest. However, historical investment in high capacity solutions like rail has been lacking; and big public transport projects are too often victim of short-term political considerations. While a high-quality road network is essential and requires investment to be delivered, this should not be at the expense of better-capacity, cleaner and more efficient forms of public transport which can serve as viable alternatives to car-based travel.

The Social Democrats believe that future population growth, particularly in our urban centres, must be adequately planned for today in terms of transport provision if we are to avoid unsustainable urban sprawl, disconnected communities and ever-increasing car commutes. To do this we need to support a modal shift away from carbon intense, car- based transport towards high-capacity public transport options. We must also drastically reduce emissions in transport if we are to meet emissions reduction targets.

Priorities for the Social Democrats in this regard include:

  • Rebalancing capital spending in public transport incrementally, ensuring capital spending on roads is at least matched by capital spending on other forms of public transport on a multi-annual basis;
  • Encouraging greater use of public transport by reducing public transport fares (see Cost of Living proposals);
  • Building the DART Underground at the earliest practicable date;
  • Delivering new road infrastructure where there is a critical need, e.g. a high-grade connection between Cork, Limerick and Galway;
  • Examining ways to rollout a national smart ticketing system that is integrated, accessible and efficient, and applies to all forms of public transport. We would maintain free travel for those over 66;
  • Ensuring focus on suburban and hinterland commuter transport in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and other urban centres; working to provide greater reliability and frequency of services to move people out of cars;
  • Continuing the development of light rail and tram services where they are needed, along with the rollout of Bus Rapid Transit in specific urban centres;
  • Enhancing cycling infrastructure in our major cities and towns, and work on developing inter-urban cycleways and scenic greenways. We would implement cycle-friendly traffic management systems in major city and town centres;
  • Increasing incentives and subsidies to purchase Electric Vehicles, including subsidies for the installation of charge points domestically. We would increase the availability of fast-charge points nationwide;
  • Reviewing current regulations governing taxi-drivers, with a particular focus on age of vehicle requirements, and improve consultation processes with the industry.

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