Train station parking fees under review
PARKING CHARGES at the State’s railway stations are to be reviewed following a complaint by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar that high charges appear to be discouraging customers.
Based on his own experience of charges in Dublin and reports from other TDs including Cork’s David Stanton, Mr Varadkar told Iarnród Éireann: “The effect of these charges has been to empty the car parks and displace the cars on to neighbouring roads and estates.”
Iarnród Éireann has defended its pricing scheme which offers daily rates of about €3 and cheaper rates when booked in advance. But the company said it would review the charges following Mr Varadkar’s comments.
In a letter to Dick Fern, chief executive of Iarnród Éireann, Mr Varadkar said he thought it was “reasonable to charge for parking”. But he said he was concerned the company “has got the price points wrong, as most of the station car parks are now half-empty when they used to be overflowing”.
Mr Varadkar said as “a constituency TD in a commuter area” he had experienced the problem and he mentioned Coolmine and Clonsilla in Dublin in particular, although he noted that pay parking at Clonsilla was controlled by the local authority.
Mr Varadkar concluded his letter with a request for a review of the charges “on the basis that a lower charge may encourage more commuters to use the car park”.
David Stanton, TD for Cork East, said he had negotiated free parking at local stations during the summer and, while this resulted in a loss of revenue for the company, it did ease the problem.
Mr Stanton said at Glounthaune station he had observed one car in the station car park and about 60 on the road. A similar situation was observed at Little Island, while at Midleton there were about 25 cars in the car park but many more on the road.
Mr Stanton said it was not as simple as banning traffic from local roads, as rural area parking restrictions would affect trade.
Car parking charges at suburban stations were introduced in 2008, and rates are currently €3 per day, €10 per week or €30 per 31 days.
Payment options using text messaging are €2 per day, €8 per week or €30 per 30 days.
Iarnród Éireann spokesman Barry Kenny said usage rates, particularly in the Greater Dublin area, “remain high in the vast majority of car parks”.
He said parking facilities in east Cork were “lightly used”, but the free parking period this summer did not result in any increase in car park usage.