7 November 2018

Public 'need to be educated' on transport options: NTA

Owen Keegan, Anne Graham, Colm Brady, Dr Cara Augustenburg, Sheila Struyck, and moderator Vincent Wall, at the GoCar event.
The travelling public needs to be educated about what alternative transport options are available in their own areas, writes Brian Byrne.

That's one of the views expressed by the chief executive of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham, at a discussion on The Future of Multimodal Transport held in Dublin today.

"Quite often, people don't actually know," she told the attendance at the event in Dublin's Wood Quay Venue, organised by car-sharing company GoCar to mark the company's 10th anniversary.

She said the NTA knows that there needs to be an improvement in public transport, not just in cities but also in rural areas. She also noted the statistics mentioned that owning a car costs a minimum of around €10,000 a year and said that no annual use of public transport would come near that figure. "I think one of the things that will encourage car sharing is if people use public transport more, and then they'll consider whether they need to own a car at all."

Ms Graham also said people who hadn't used public transport for some time needed to be 'encouraged' to come back to it 'and see what improvements have taken place'.

Asked by the discussion moderator Vincent Wall whether the 'carrot' or 'stick' worked better to discourage people using their personal cars, she said 'people respond to both'. Noting that in terms of the country's cities they were working on the encouragement of sustainable transport modes, she said reduction of parking spaces and higher parking charges could play a part. "We also have proposals coming to use more of the available roads space for public transport."

Looking to the future, in answer to a query whether self-driving vehicles would help the situation, she said that privately owned autonomous vehicles would 'only add to the problem'. "But if we have dedicated bus lanes on core corridors, they would be a possibility for public transport," she said. She declined to answer what might be a timeline for this.

The event featured a keynote speech from Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD, followed by a panel discussion involving Dr Cara Augustenburg, Lecturer in Environmental Policy in UCD; Colm Brady, MD of GoCar & Europcar Mobility Group Ireland; Anne Graham; Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council; and Sheila Struyck, MD of the Business Unit, Europcar Mobility Group.

We will be posting a number of stories from this event, which raised a wide variety of issues relating to future possibilities in public transport.