Transport deficit and the housing crisis


Sir,– I concur with Paul Kearns’s comments in his opinion column suggesting poor design in apartment dwellings is turning prospective dwellers into low-height, large-footprint housing, and exacerbating the deficit in housing supply (September 7th). 
I suggest, though, that the real root cause of our housing crisis is the deficit in high-quality, high-frequency, higher-speed rail transport corridors serving our major urban centres, especially Dublin. If Dublin had a quality heavy-rail service approaching the standards that apply in most continental European cities, then one could easily live in surrounding towns 70km or 80km away, and commute at speed and comfort. There are four commuter rail corridors serving Dublin. Only two are partly electrified since 1984. All have average commute times to destination double or more than equivalent rail services in continental Europe. We even have one of the lines (south of Greystones serving Wicklow and Wexford)  with a last departure at 6.30pm. 
Of course all the parallel road corridors are saturated for six hours every day because the rail service is not an alternative. And while rail transport services have been successfully deregulated across continental EU by separating rail infrastructure from train operations and introducing competition on defined routes, and is the most efficient means in moving large numbers of commuters, the  Government continuously applies to the EU for derogations not to deregulate. And yet another State service is broken. – Yours, etc,
Co Wicklow.