Brennan plan to break up CIE


Madam, - I cannot help but be worried when I hear the Minister for Transport's stated aim of breaking up CIE into three separate "competing" entities. The best public transport systems are those which integrate with one another and support each other's strengths - for example, bus services that "feed" train stations and vice versa.

I cannot accept that the two objectives of competing transport companies and fully integrated public transport systems are compatible. If the primary aim of a transport concern is to attract and retain as many passengers as possible - and to maximise "efficiency" (read as profit/costs) - I do not see why it would wish to feed passengers into any competing networks. Quite likely, it would fight to keep passengers captive within its own network.

The Government has invested substantial sums in all areas of transport in recent years - albeit with some over-emphasis on new roads - and will continue to do so in the future. It would seem wasteful to allow one transport mode to undermine another and therefore, depreciate the value of tax revenue investments.

In a similar vein, it is a pity that the time and money expended to date on the Glen of the Downs road improvements in Wicklow had not instead been spent on the Wicklow rail line to provide a fast commuter route to Dublin. That might have removed much of the need for the road improvements in the first place.

The existing set-up of CIE may not be ideal. However, in a country the size of Ireland, having the three incumbent companies working together would appear to be a lot easier and convenient - and better for passengers - than trying to compel public transport adversaries to work in harmony. - Yours, etc.,




Co Wicklow.