PASSENGERS using the Luas tram system continue to rise, with a record 29.4 million journeys made in 2012.
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) said the record numbers were achieved despite the downturn and a fire on the Red line to Tallaght which resulted in a week with no services.
The busiest periods were at the end of August during the Tall Ships Festival and during December when shoppers and revellers flocked to Dublin.
The numbers compare with 29.1 million who used Luas during 2011, and represent an increase of 1pc, or 300,000 extra trips.
Welcoming the record numbers, RPA chief executive Rory O‘Connor said that Luas continued to post successful numbers without the need for a government subsidy.
“We have worked hard to reduce costs on the one hand and to increase passenger numbers on the other and we are delighted with the increase in passenger numbers for 2012, which certainly bucks the trend,” he said.
“RPA is pleased to report that 2012 has been the most successful year to date in terms of Luas passenger numbers. The past year has been extremely challenging for all sectors of the Irish economy and the performance of Luas is particularly heartening when seen in that context.”
Work will begin on linking the two Luas lines later this year. It comes after An Bord Pleanala granted permission last August for the 5.6km extension to the Luas Green Line between Saint Stephen’s Green and Broombridge.
The new line, which will finally see the Red and Green lines linked to form a light rail network, is expected to generate an extra 10 million passenger journeys in a full year. The new Luas line is expected to go into operation in 2017.