Business Irish

Thursday 21 August 2014

Dublin Bus looking at off-peak fare cuts

Paul Melia, Environment Correspondent

Published 03/03/2014 | 02:30

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Dublin Bus: fares proposal
Dublin Bus: fares proposal

COMMUTERS could be in line for cheaper fares if they use the bus during off-peak times.

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The National Transport Authority (NTA) is in discussions with Dublin Bus about introducing reduced fares to grow passenger numbers and help promote bus journeys.

And short-term promotional fares for certain times of the year may also be introduced if the changes can be implemented using existing technology.

A spokeswoman for Dublin Bus said it was at the "early stage" of investigating if it was possible to reduce fares at certain times of the day, and would report to the NTA in the coming weeks.

"We're in the early stages of investigating this," she said. "We have to look at a number of issues including technical and software issues for onboard systems."

The work involves seeing if ticket machines can alter the price of a cash fare, of that paid by someone with a Leap card, during certain times of the day.

RISKS

If it is possible, the NTA could approve the changes.

"While the authority believes that the proposal may carry some financial risks, it is nevertheless open to the idea if it can be clearly demonstrated that such fares would stimulate extra passenger journeys to generate an overall increase in revenue," chief executive Gerry Murphy wrote in a letter to Labour TD Sean Kenny.

"The authority will also discuss with Dublin Bus the possibility of having short-term promotional fares initiatives at appropriate times of the year that would not only increase passenger journeys but would also boost overall awareness of the network of bus services."

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said it "made sense" to utilise public transport at off-peak times, adding that minster Leo Varadkar was "very interested" in the concept.

Cheaper DART fares have previously been flagged by the minister, and his department wants overall public transport use to rise by 2pc, or five million passenger journeys, on state-backed public transport – DART, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann.

Off-peak fares are common on other transport networks worldwide, including Transport for London.

Irish Independent

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