Experienced rail commuters will take little comfort in the suggestion from Irish Rail that it may have to extend “pre-book only” services as trains become more over crowded.
Commuters who book train seats only to find them occupied will wonder what is the point, especially as Irish Rail staff studiously avoid any engagement with those who book seats or those who take them.
This, naturally, adds another layer of stress when using public transport.
The State rail company has plans to order 41 carriages but they will not be ready for at least two years.
The company has admitted that the situation may “get worse before it gets better”.
At a moment when it is essential to change the fundamentals of our transport habits this delay is frustrating and may add to the emissions fines anticipated because we have failed to meet obligatory targets. However, it may not be fair to blame Irish Rail as it is dependent on Government funding.
Fergus O’Dowd, chair of the Oireachtas transport committee, may have been trying to create a different impression when he described the proposal as “absolutely unacceptable”.
No matter how the issue is clouded this is another failure in public planning brought about because politicians prefer to defer difficult decisions.
Irish Rail’s difficulties have been highlighted for many years as has the need for enhanced services because of our growing population. That adage — prepare properly or prepare to fail — is all too apt.