While Minister Alan Kelly viewed the packed out car park of Portlaoise train station last Thursday February 21, one customer spoke of her plight as she desperately tried to find a parking space.
“I travel to Dublin regularly for meetings. I live near Camross, and my husband has to drive sixty miles to drop me off and collect me. It is a very serious problem,” she said.
The busy stations sees 55 commuter trains stop daily, but has only 110 parking spaces.
Anyone arriving after 8am has no hope of finding a spot, and staff are receiving daily complaints.
On this particular day, the lady had no choice but to drive, and was actually parked illegally waiting in hopes that someone might drive out of a space, before her train pulled in to the station.
Eventually she gave up and drove to the Dunnes Stores carpark, facing a ten minute walk back, with barely time to catch her train.
Another Portlaoise rail commuter who has previously complained about the lack of adequate car parking at Portlaoise train station, welcomed the Minister’s visit.
“It’s about time, the car park size doesn’t reflect the size of the commuter belt.
“I hope this leads to some answers, if there was more parking available, people would definitely jump on board,” said the commuter, who like others, has recently begun to park his car in the nearby Heritage Hotel’s multi storey carpark instead.
Last November he described the daily scene of drivers parking so tightly together in the train station carpark that cars get damaged.
“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, Iarnród Eireann are not addressing the issue.
“People are really getting fed up, “ he said.
If drivers attempt to park outside the carpark, they can find their car clamped with a €120 charge on their return home he said.
“People park their cars on the Mountmellick road, leaving them at risk of getting damaged,“ he added.