Saturday 25 March 2017

Tough decisions must be made to get back on track

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

CIE's cash crisis has been a long time in the making. Passenger numbers have fallen, with cuts in state aid and rising fuel bills leaving the company on a knife-edge with question marks over its future.

It was all so different back in 2005 when the Government announced its ambitious Transport 21 programme, which promised €16bn for public transport and new trains and buses. Much of the money was spent upgrading the ageing rail network, while a fleet of buses and new trains replaced a clapped-out fleet.

New services were introduced and, in a booming economy with almost full employment, the numbers grew. CIE was encouraged to think big, and it did. It secured planning permission to redevelop Tara Street station to include a 12-storey office block, and a rail commuter service was introduced for Meath.

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