Wednesday 28 September 2016

Commuters urged to switch to Leap card as fare hikes revealed

Published 31/10/2015 | 02:30

Public transport fares are to increase from December 1st
Public transport fares are to increase from December 1st

Fares will rise on some public transport services from December 1 with schoolchildren to be hit with an extra 5 cent charge if paying by cash.

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The National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved increases in some fares in an effort to encourage more people to switch to the Leap card, which is 20pc cheaper.

The increases will affect fares across Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Luas services.

Despite passenger growth in 2014, the authority said fare hikes were needed to complete the "restructuring and simplification" of the fare structure, to encourage a switch to the Leap card and to contribute to the cost of providing services.

For some services, only "modest" increases had been approved, it said, adding that it would roll out a new family ticket next year which would help reduce the cost of public transport.

Among the biggest changes is for Luas passengers who used a three-zone monthly and annual ticket, which are being discontinued. An annual ticket currently costs €850 - this will rise to €910 for an 'all-zone' ticket. In addition, off-peak travel using cash and Leap cards will increase, along with a one, seven or 30-day travel ticket which is up by 4pc.

The NTA said fares were set with the aim of maintaining passenger numbers while ensuring financial stability for the operators.

"The authority inherited a highly complex, and in many cases illogical, fares structure when we took on the regulation of public transport services at the end of 2009," chief executive Anne Graham said.

"We want to further incentivise people to choose Leap card to pay for their travel by maintaining a substantial price differential between Leap and cash fares.

"Leap is used to pay for 1.5 million journeys every week, representing about €2.5m in electronic transactions, which are cheaper for the operators to manage and means the passenger benefits from shorter wait times at each stop as well as paying less for their trip - Leap will always be at least 20pc cheaper than cash for a single journey".

Cash

On Bus Éireann regional city services, cash single fares will go up by 5.3pc - or 5c -for adults and schoolchildren. Most Leap card fares in the regional cities will fall. There are increases between 10c and €2.50 for one and seven-day tickets. For monthly tickets, increases range from €1.50 to €2.60, and between €23.50 and €36.50 for annual tickets.

Overall, Bus Éireann individual fares will increase by no more than 5pc.

For Dublin Bus, a schoolchild cash fare is up 5c, and Leap is up 2c. Multi-operator monthly and annual tickets will increase between 2.6pc and 2.9pc.

Some fares have also been merged. The 4-7 stage and 8-13 stage bands for cash fares have been merged into one 4-13 band. The fare is now €2.70 - this is an increase of 15c for the 4-7 stage, and a reduction of 10c for the previous 8-13 stage.

For Irish Rail, short hop zone fares increase between 1.4pc to 4.2pc, and by a maximum of 3pc on monthly and annual fares.

Some three-day and weekly commuter tickets including the weekly inner rail have been discontinued. Using a Leap card will prove cheaper than the existing rate.

In the regional cities, Leap fares will not increase and fares will be 24pc cheaper than paying in cash. Some changes in Cork are conditional on the roll-out of the Leap card, and cannot be applied on December 1.

Irish Independent

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