Wednesday 20 February 2019

Commuter's anger grows as annual rail station car parking fee leaps nationwide

Anyone paying for parking every month would end up spending €360 a year. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Anyone paying for parking every month would end up spending €360 a year. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Charlie Weston and Robin Schiller

The increase in parking costs at rail stations has been criticised by commuters.

It comes as complaints multiply about congestion on trains after changes last month to timetables, which have led to smaller Darts and alterations to diesel train departures.

Now the annual cost of parking at a commuter station is to rise to €250. This is on top of the yearly price of a short-hop commuter ticket, which typically costs €1,450.

The move will affect thousands of people who park at commuter, intercity and Dart stations.

One Irish Rail user, who did not want to be named, said there was no justification for the increase of 8pc - an extra €20 - for parking.

"It is hard to understand why there is an increase given that maintenance is virtually nil. I reported broken lighting at my station and it took months before they were fixed," one commuter said.

Two years ago, commuters were left reeling after increases of up to 17pc in parking charges at most railway stations.

The cost at most commuter stations for a day went up from €4 to €4.50. Parking by text rose by 50c to €3.50, an increase of almost 17pc.

Weekly costs also went up at most commuter stations. It went to €11 for those to pay in cash to park for a week, a hike of €1. The text cost for weekly parking rose by €1 to €9.

Monthly parking costs were left unchanged.

Irish Rail said at the time it was the first increase in the cost of parking in three years, and that it needed the extra money to fund services in general and maintain the car parks.

Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny defended the latest rises, pointing out parking costs represent good value for money. He said the monthly cost of parking would remain at €30.

Mr Kenny said anyone paying for parking every month would end up spending €360 a year. This compared with the cost of an annual ticket next year, which is set to rise to €250.

"The annual parking price is a promotional price and it is still significantly cheaper than paying the fee monthly," he said.

The hike comes as almost €20m is expected to be spent on dealing with legal issues surrounding the MetroLink project.

The €3bn project, which won't be launched until 2027, has already faced issues relating to the impact it could have on sports facilities and private properties. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), one of the State agencies involved in the development, has now put a contract out to tender for legal services relating to MetroLink.

The €17.5m contract will span the next 10 years and include legal services for a wide range of issues including planning, injunctions, claims and judicial review.

"The current corporate adviser is assisting TII with initial project legal services but the successful tenderer will take over all Metrolink project-related work from the corporate legal adviser on contract signing," the tender states.

Receipt of tenders have until December 3 to express their interest in the contract.

The MetroLink, which will run from Swords to Sandyford, has proved controversial on both sides of the city with some locals on the capital's southside demanding that it should go underground.

"MetroLink is Ireland's largest public transport infrastructure project for many decades," public consultation documents state.

"As with all projects of this size and scale, it will bring numerous issues and challenges which need to be effectively and sensitively addressed."

Irish Independent

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