With a growing population in the Laytown/Bettystown/Mornington area of the commuter belt, the more uncomfortable the daily journey into the capital becomes. Commuters heading to work in early morning rush or even worse, heading home in the evenings are airtight packed in standing room only carriages for the larger part of their journey, with the added insult being that they have to pay through the nose for it too.
Whereas last November those travelling to the city centre from Naas/Sallins and Kilcock stations were brought into the Short Hop Zone (SHZ), Laytown, Gormanston and Drogheda on the Northern line were once again left within the intercity fare structure.
‘It’s way past time for the boundaries between intercity and commuter areas on the railway network to be reviewed,’ says Deputy Imelda Munster TD for Louth and East Meath, areas that have seen big increases in population as legions of Dubliners have moved out of the city because of high priced housing to areas which offer more affordable housing over the last thirteen or fourteen years.
The current boundary for Short Hop Zones is 35km which means that a monthly ticket for an adult from Laytown to Dublin costs €222 whereas commuters travelling from Balbriggan only pay €152. That is a big difference for two stops and approximately 10km along the tracks. Furthermore, a student travelling to NUI Maynooth from Laytown will pay a weekly fare of €92.60 while their peers in Balbriggan can get a weekly ticket for €45.30…less than half the cost
‘My constituents are extremely angry about this difference in outgoings for travel between them and their near neighbours. They feel that it’s extortionate. Perhaps the commuter boundary of 35km was correct up to the year 2000. However, just as the population has spread out massively from Dublin into the surrounding counties in the years since then, thus that 35km boundary needs to be extended to realistically reflect that increase and I have written to Irish Rail and the National Transport Authority asking them to look into this grossly unfair system as a matter of urgency.’