TRANSPORT Minister Eamon Ryan’s announcement of a reduction of public transport fares by 50% for students and young people last week was broadly welcomed around the country. However, many Wexford students feel that they are being “unfairly excluded” from the scheme.
The issue has been raised by Labour Youth members in Wexford who've branded it a “broken promise” from the Minister, as the cuts to ticket prices will not apply to Expressway or Wexford Bus services relied upon by Wexford students to travel to Dublin, Waterford, Carlow and Maynooth.
"As far as we are concerned this is a broken promise,” said Chair of Wexford Labour Youth Evin Ryan. “There is a reasonable expectation that a nationwide reduction will cover all journeys, but they have excluded the routes that young people actually need to use.
"There is no major third level institution in the county, so we are forced to travel if we want to learn. It is great that people will be able to travel from all over Dublin to their work or college for €1, but Wexford students will still be charged €16 each way and, in a cost of living crisis, this is simply unfair when other counties will not be affected this way.”
The system is further complicated by the fact that Expressway services, despite being operated by Bus Éireann, will not be reducing their ticket prices for young people in line with other Bus Éireann services.
For Evin, this is just the latest problem for students that the powers that be have yet to solve.
"We all want affordable and reliable public transport, but the government should not be picking and choosing who gets to save,” he said. “Many of us have been priced out of accommodation; many of us can’t find a job in the county once we graduate. We are just calling for common sense to prevail and this ridiculous system to be fixed.”