A Portlaoise rail commuter has spoken out at the lack of adequate car parking at Portlaoise train station. The young man who does not wish to be named claims that after 7.20am, all spaces are full, and he and others frequently drive to Newbridge train station just to find a parking space.
“I have no issue with paying the €3 a day charge, but not for a spot that doesn’t exist. The town has increased in size and there is a fair number of commuters, but I don’t think the carpark reflects this. I appreciate it is on top of a hill and expansion is difficult, but it is getting to the stage that people are getting lifts to the station, because it’s not worth the hassle,” he said.
The commuter has been travelling on the train daily to his Dublin job for the past nine years, and in that time his car has been damaged several times, such is the tight squeeze drivers find themselves in.
“People are squeezing into spaces at the risk of damaging their cars. I have seen them park up against the barrier and climb out the passenger side, it’s like something out of Inspector Gadget,” he said.
If drivers attempt to park outside the carpark, they will find their car clamped with a €120 charge on their return home. Three weeks ago he says six cars were clamped on the one day.
“People park their cars on the Mountmellick road, leaving them at risk of getting damaged. Iarnród Eireann are not addressing the issue. People are really getting fed up,” the commuter said.
He had a novel solution for the space problems, necessitating some co-operation between Portlaoise Parish and the rail authority.
“There is CBS owned land behind the station that isn’t being used anymore, maybe some of that could be leased,” he suggested, noting that Portarlington train station has a much bigger carpark (170 spaces), despite having a smaller population.
Irish Rail say they presently have no money to acquire additional land, but will revisit the issue when funding becomes available.
“It is correct that current car parking facilities at Portlaoise do not always meet demand. We have the the past looked at alternative parking locations in the vicinity but for various reasons providing additional car parking has not been successful. There is a large car park at Portarlington that has ample capacity,” their spokesperson said.