Sunday 22 October 2017

Commuters forced to pay fare hikes out of line with inflation

Timmy Dooley
Timmy Dooley
Daniel McConnell

Daniel McConnell

Thousands of bus, rail and Luas commuter passengers in the greater Dublin area have been "screwed" by fare increases of 42pc since 2009 - way above cost of living and inflation increases.

Fare increases for those who use the train, bus and Luas to get to work every day in the Dublin area were also far higher than those imposed on public transport passengers around the country.

The shocking figures are revealed in confidential internal Department of Transport documents released to the Irish Independent under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents show that commuters have been forced to pick up the tab for the €100m or 32pc decrease in Government funding in the CIE companies.

The disclosure comes just two months after new fare hikes at the various CIE companies came into force.

According to the documents, fare hikes at Irish Rail and Dart on average increased by 42pc on "all short-hop commuter" trips, while on intercity single fare journeys the increases were 17pc.

For annual and monthly taxsaver fares, a popular choice for workers who live in the commuter belt, the increases since 2009 were 39pc.

At Dublin Bus, adult fares for 1-3 stages rose by 51pc; 42pc for 4-7 stages; and 39pc for 8-13 stages. So on average, adult fares at Dublin Bus have increased by 36pc.

The documents also show that the increase at Bus éireann averaged at 18pc while increases in Luas prices totalled 11pc.

Timmy Dooley, Fianna Fáil's Transport spokesman, told the Irish Independent last night that the documents show how commuter passengers are "being screwed" by a succession of misguided fare hikes.

He was also highly critical of Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe and the Government for their hands-off approach to the continued spiral of fare hikes at a time when it is trying to encourage people to use public transport.

Subsidy

A spokesman for the Transport Minister said the fare hikes were a matter for the NTA.

He added that for the first time in seven years, the Government subsidy to CIE was not reduced.

The Rail Users Ireland group said increases on most monthly and annual rail tickets amounted to a "targeted attack" on commuters who have no choice but to use public transport.

Irish Rail have said discount promotions on train tickets ensured Irish Rail travel costs were below European norms despite the impending fare increases.

Irish Independent

Also in this section