Putting the brakes on free public transport


Sir, – Drawing conclusions for Ireland by reference to what exists or is proposed in Luxembourg is nonsensical.

Luxembourg is a mini-state, a larger Lichtenstein rather than a smaller Ireland. The area of Luxembourg is just under 2,600 km2, roughly that of Co Roscommon. That of Ireland, 26 counties, is 84,000 km2. Luxembourg has a population of nearly 600,000 and a population density of 207 per km2, while the population of Ireland is 4.7 millions and the population density is 64 per km2. Gross national income in Luxembourg is over €62,000 per head (€49,000 per head in Ireland).

Given population size, the economic benefits of subsidised or free public transport generally increase with income per head and population density. The per capita capital and operating costs generally decrease with population density and increase with population size. The ability to finance it through taxation increases with income per head.

Taking Luxembourg as an example for Ireland is about as sensible as a call for a western rail corridor from Galway to Sligo because Dublin has DART.

How about a Luas line from Carrick-on-Shannon to Athlone? – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.