Thursday 18 January 2018

Passengers face 8pc hike in bus and rail fares as services cut

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

BUS and rail passengers face an 8pc fare hike at the same time as services are to be significantly cut.

The subsidies paid to the CIE group, which includes Irish Rail, Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus, will be cut by €21m next year.

There will be "a substantial increase in cash fares" in the new year, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar warned last night, although he was unable to put a figure on the amount.

However, the Irish Independent has learned that the hike in rail and bus fares is expected to be 8pc.

Passengers who pay cash -- most public transport users -- face the biggest fare increases.

Those who use the new cross-transport LEAP top-up smart cards will be spared the largest hikes.

While there is no difference in cash and LEAP fares on Dublin Bus, Luas tickets are 24pc cheaper using LEAP, and Dart and commuter rail fares 18pc cheaper.

Getting back into the car will also prove costly, as massive hikes in car tax will be announced by the Government today.

Transport companies were not in a position to state last night what cuts in services might have to be introduced in order to make the necessary savings.

Irish Rail said it would continue its ongoing programme of cost reduction, which has seen annual costs reduced by €162.5m from 2008 to 2011 across the CIE Group.

Funding for regional airports is also being cut by 35pc, while the Rural Transport Initiative, a lifeline to many elderly people living in remote parts of the country, is having its funding slashed by €900,000.

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