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Fine Gael TD for Cork East, David Stanton has called for car parking charges at train stations on the Cork to Midleton line to be suspended.

“I have made contact with Irish Rail on a number of occasions in the past in relation to parking charges at local train stations on the Cork to Midleton train line. I believe that the charges may be affecting uptake of the train service. I have today written to Irish Rail requesting that they examine the possibility of suspending the car parking fee to see if this improves passenger numbers on this service.

“I know that Irish Rail carried out a free car parking promotion in the run up to Christmas last year and over the festive period. I have requested that they consider doing the same this year in the hope that more people in East Cork could be encouraged to use public transport.

“I have pointed out to Irish Rail that while the €2 daily parking fee is relatively low, the railway stations are the only places that charge for parking in Midleton, Carrigtwohill, Glounthaune and Little Island. I really believe that Irish Rail need to re-examine the car parking charges at stations on the Cork to Midleton line. While patronage of the train service is good it is evident that most service users do not use the large new purpose built car parks. While I acknowledge many train users walk or cycle to the stations, a lot of drivers using the train park outside the stations where parking is free.

“As traffic congestion increases in the run up to Christmas, I think that free parking will be a great incentive for people to use the train. It is a fast and reliable way for people to get to Cork city for work and for people from Cork to get to Midleton and other places in East Cork for shopping and leisure.

“Finally, in addition to free parking at Christmas, I have also asked that Irish Rail look at suspending the car park indefinitely to try to improve train and car park usage at stations. As a frequent user of this Midleton to Cork train if find it very efficient, reliable and economical and I am anxious that the success of this new route continues.