Thursday 19 October 2017

Travel smart — make the Leap to public transport

Luas tram approaching Beechwood staion on the Green line. Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Luas tram approaching Beechwood staion on the Green line. Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

SWITCHING from the car to public transport is a sure-fire way to save money, with savings of up to €372 a year possible.

According to the AA, the journey from Maynooth to Co Kildare in Dublin is 25kms and takes 24 minutes. This assumes that traffic flows relatively smoothly. The cost of the fuel for the trip is €3.76.

If the ‘average’ worker has five weeks holidays a year, and doesn’t work the nine public holidays, it means they work around 225 days a year.

The motoring costs are €7.52 per day — or €1,692 per year. That assumes that parking is free.

But commuters making this journey have a range of options to help save money.

The first is the annual taxsaver ticket. To avail, the workers’ company must be signed up to the scheme. Switching is simple, and involves logging on to www.taxsaver.ie and seeing what savings can be made.

You then register, and choose the most appropriate annual or monthly ticket. The cost is deducted from your salary over the year.

The savings are possible because the prices are calculated based on your gross salary, before tax and PRSI is paid. The saving depends on the tax rate you pay.

For example, the annual Dublin Bus travelwide ticket — which allows you unlimited travel between Balbriggan in north Dublin, south to Kilcoole and west to Dunboyne, Celbridge and Ballymore Eustace — costs €1,320 a year: a saving of €372 a year, or €7.15 per week.

This also works at weekends, and allows ticket holders to not only use the bus for their daily journey in and out of work, but also for trips around the city.

The DART/Commuter rail is slightly more expensive at €1,420, but is still €272 a year cheaper than travelling by car. Again, there is unlimited travel across the DART network and commuter lines into the city.

That means you avoid gridlock, and save money.

Bus Eireann also offer a range of point-to-point tickets which apply to each county. Annual city tickets are also available, with a monthly ticket costing €59.50 in Waterford, €65.50 in Limerick and Galway and between €74 and €92 in Cork.

Further details are at www.taxsaver.ie, or at www.buseireann.ie, www.dublinbus.ie, www.irishrail.ie and www.luas.ie.

There’s even savings to be made for the occasional user of public transport. The most important thing to bear is mind is never pay in cash — the Leap card, which is available in Dublin, Cork and Galway and is coming to Limerick and Waterford soon, offers an average saving of 20pc compared with cash.

In Dublin, a short journey of three stages costs €1.95 for an adult — it’s €1.50 if paying by Leap. For Luas, the fare is €1.80 but €1.44 by Leap, while a short DART journey is €2.15 by cash, but €1.70 with Leap.

A 20pc saving is also offered with Bus Eireann.

In addition, daily costs are capped on Dublin Bus at €6.90 for an adult, €5 for a student and €2.50 for a child. For Luas, it’s €6.40, €5 and €2.50 and €9.20, €6.90 and €3.10 on DART and commuter services.

If you use a combination of all modes of public transport, it’s €10, €7.50 and €3.50.

Of course, always check out private bus companies in your area which also offer keen rates especially on point-to-point services.

Irish Independent

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