Friday 26 December 2014

Quantum Leap as number of travel cards hits 500,000

Published 14/05/2014 | 02:30

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
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

A THIRD of all public transport journeys in Dublin now involve the use of Leap Cards rather than pay-as-you-go tickets.

The half a millionth Leap Card has just been issued and 250,000 trips a day are now being taken using the smartcard system – where passengers prepay credit and then swipe their cards to deduct the fare.

The system was launched two and a half years ago and has soared in popularity as commuters can avail of cheaper fares on buses, trains and trams.

A new auto top-up service was also announced yesterday where passengers can allow credit to be automatically added to their Leap Card from their bank account when it is running low.

This optional system allows users to choose an amount to top up by when the value on their card falls below a certain level.

Junior transport minister Alan Kelly said that the issuing of the 500,000th Leap Card was an important landmark and showed the system had exceeded expectations.

"With some 250,000 journeys per weekday taken using Leap, the Leap Card represents a major achievement in a short space of time," he said.

"The next phase will be to develop Leap Card further in Cork as well as moving it other cities. Leap accounts for 47 million passenger journeys since its inception. I look forward to progressing it further in future."

The National Transport Authority (NRA) said that €1.25m worth of journeys a week are now being taken on the Leap Card system.

Commuters can benefit from discounts of up to 23pc on short journeys by using it to pay for trips on commuter rail, Dart, Luas and buses.

The system has also just been rolled out in Cork.

Daily and weekly fare caps have also been introduced in recent months which means customers making multiple short journeys can make further savings.

The development of a Leap Card system was plagued by lengthy delays for over a decade before it was finally launched at the end of 2011.

Technical and bureaucratic glitches meant the Leap Card system had a €26m cost overrun bringing the total price tag to over €55m.

Ciara Harte of Rush, Co Dublin, received the 500,000th Leap Card after winning a NTA competition.

Irish Independent

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