Martina Devlin: Fair's fare -- this isn't the time to hike ticket prices
WE need to be clear about what our public transport system stands for. To my mind, it's not simply communal travel -- it should be a service, in the same way libraries operate for the community's welfare, and it ought to be kept affordable.
There are other goals attached to a public transport network, of course. It must be reliable -- passengers need to trust the timetable. And it should be efficient enough to dissuade people from the emissions-unfriendly habit of using private cars for single occupant journeys, nudging them toward the planet-friendly habit of sharing.
If we agree that these are worthwhile targets, then the operating costs must play second fiddle. In which case, we have to accept that the scheme will mean a drain on the Exchequer. Naturally, it should operate in a businesslike fashion, but inevitably it will require state subvention.