Total of 200 ‘mobility hubs’ to be rolled out to help curb transport emissions, says Ryan

Minister for Environment says electric vehicles or e-bikes will be available to borrow for short or long journeys for small fee

A total of 200 “mobility hubs” are to be provided across the country from later this year to encourage people to share access to e-bikes and electric vehicles (EV) – and support efforts to curb transport emissions, according to Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan.

The €40 million project will start with pilot hubs in two cities and a major town, and be funded from the Government’s climate fund. Members of the public will be able to borrow an EV or an electric bike for short or long journeys for a small fee, once registered.

The scheme administered by local authorities would reduce the number of the cars on the road and give people in urban areas access to EVs as they may otherwise be unable to own their own due to lack of charging infrastructure, Mr Ryan told the Oireachtas Climate Action Committee on Thursday.

Mobility hubs will be designed to encourage varied and sustainable types of transport in areas close to existing public transport links with high concentration of employment, housing, shopping, amenities and recreation.


Responding to Deputy Richard Bruton of Fine Gael, he accepted a pilot hub operated by Fingal County Council in Blanchardstown was not as successful as he would have liked.

Mr Bruton said vehicle sharing had to play a big part in reducing transport emissions, but it was in the wrong area and more effort was needed in finding the right locations, on securing buy-in from local stakeholders and on better promotion.

There was a willingness and awareness of the need to take sustainable options but “people have not been given the choices”, he added. There should be an onus on employers to facilitate transport options that reduce emissions associated with their operations, he said, while cutting private car journeys and trips taken by one person.

On EV charger availability, Mr Bruton said the performance of local authorities was appalling. Grants had been available for the past five years “and take-up remains pathetic”.

A demand management strategy to be brought to Cabinet shortly would address how to manage parking, the roll-out of hubs and scaling up smarter transport, Mr Ryan said.

While transport emissions were rising compared to other sectors, progress was being made, especially in scaling up rural transport and EVs. “Electric vehicle adoption is surging, with a total of over 114,000 EVs now on Irish roads, of which almost 65,000 are pure battery electric. We are on track to meet the 2025 target of 195,000 EVs,” he said.

He cited the case of the Department of Transport which had reduced its parking spaces from 120 to 40, while only 2 per cent of Trinity College Dublin’s staff and students were commuting by car.

He confirmed transport emissions remain out of line with ceilings for the sector up to 2025. “We must continue to do everything we can to cut emissions in the sector, both out to 2025, and more rapidly in the second half of the decade.”

The 2024 climate action plan “reinforces that measures must continue to be implemented at greater speed and scale to reduce emissions further, particularly in the transport sector, while ensuring that quality of life is improved”, Mr Ryan added.

Asked by Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke what policy interventions he was considering to get transport emissions into line, the Minister said reallocation of roadspace backed by quick decisions on traffic management was a priority, “but requires a lot of political courage”. Local authorities were most active on this, would get the most funding.

Development of rail freight tied into major ports was another key element, with developments starting in Waterford, the Limerick to Foynes line and Rosslare.

Of key importance was changing the planning system, he said. “Everything takes so long in planning.” Even with approval, the risk of judicial review was often “protracted and expensive and not necessarily fair”.

Mr Ryan expected that Dublin’s metro should clear planning this year and, subject to judicial review, be able to proceed before the scheduled start of 2035.

  • See our new project Common Ground, Evolving Islands: Ireland & Britain
  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here
Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times