Students of Ireland rejoice, you will soon be given free public transport!*
*This statement requires a few heavily conditional addendums which we shall now explore:
The Green Party have suggested the implementation of a scheme that would see all students given free access to all forms of public transport. This policy comes as part of their pre-budget submission, outlined at a press conference today by Eamon Ryan, deputy leader Catherine Martin and Dublin City councillor Neasa Hourigan.
Its purpose is twofold, to provide economic assistance to struggling students and absolve them of at least one financial burden, and, to help encourage greater utilisation of public transport. Public transport, is by far the least environmentally deleterious form of transport available - beyond walking and cycling - and can thus be seen within the wider framework of the party's MO.
They reckon that the cost of implementing such a policy would be around €60 million. It features as a component of a wider suite of policy suggestions surrounding public transport and transport infrastucture to help make them more comprehensive and more sustainable.
As part of their pre-budget proposals, Ms. Hourigan has declared one of their priorities would be improving rural transport links. As quoted in The Irish Times, she said, "That would be very, very high on my agenda because there are people who are experiencing something that we have called a carbon lock-in: that they have very few choices."
Their attempts to drive people toward greater utilisation of public transport are contingent on improving access to public transport. However, without a greater Green presence in the Dáil, or in government, these policies will likely be ignored.
However, given the gains they made in the European elections earlier this year, they are targeting a growth in their Dáil presence come the general election announced for next year - and perhaps government involvement, in the likely event of no party having an outright majority. As such, it's very possible that these ideas could gain traction in the not too distant future.