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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Big leap forward for public transport users

Danielle Stephens

Published 07/08/2014 | 02:30

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Transport Minister Alan Kelly TD with NTA competition winners Ciara Harte, from Rush - who received the 500,000th Leap card plus a voucher for €500  - and Wendy Twomey - who won a €500 one voucher in May; Leap Card users will be able to top up direct from their bank accounts with new plans
Transport Minister Alan Kelly TD with NTA competition winners Ciara Harte, from Rush - who received the 500,000th Leap card plus a voucher for €500 - and Wendy Twomey - who won a €500 one voucher in May; Leap Card users will be able to top up direct from their bank accounts with new plans

LEAP card users will be given the option to automatically top up their card from their bank account to help cut queues.

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The new auto-load facility will allow commuters to increase the balance on their travel cards by logging onto the website and topping up online.

The public transport user will be able to select the top-up amount to be lodged on their rechargeable plastic smart card.

Labour TD Sean Kenny said that this new system will make for a faster and easier process for people wanting to use public transport.

"In the past, queues were out the doors at centres like DART stations every Monday morning, but this service will help to further reduce people's journey time," said Mr Kenny.

He also believes that the new system will create a significant improvement in security for both commuters and the drivers, who operate the various public transport vehicles.

"Cashless transactions are more attractive because people don't have to carry a large amount of cash and neither do staff, such as bus drivers. "It reduces the incentive for people to consider robbing on public transport," added Mr Kenny.

Congestion

As part of the Oireachtas transport committee Mr Kenny is encouraging people to use public transport as much as possible.

He said: "We have started seeing an increase in the level of traffic congestion and we are putting this down to the higher number of people returning to the workforce."

"We believe that employment is going to increase, so we would urge people to stop driving into work in order to free up the roads," he added.

A Leap card is a rechargeable plastic smart card that can be used on Dublin Bus, Luas, DART and short-hop Irish Rail in Dublin City. It is also valid on Bus Eireann services in the Greater Dublin Area and in Cork.

There is also a discount in the amount people pay for transport if using the smart card. Iarnrod Eireann said that commuters can save up to 18pc by choosing the Leap card over traditional cash fares.

More than 600,000 people currently use a Leap card and it is hoped that it will become a nationwide service, expanding outside the Dublin area.

From August 1, all under 19s were eligible for reductions of up to 60pc on Dublin Bus and 65pc on the Luas - if they hold a Child Leap Card. It is part of a move to get more students in the senior cycle of secondary school to use public transport.

Irish Independent

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