| 7.5°C Dublin

Bus and rail passengers face fare hikes of up to 18pc

BUS and rail passengers will be hit with fare increases of up to 18pc from December 1 next because of the cash crisis in our public transport companies.

The National Transport Authority has set “significant” fare hikes for anyone paying by cash or using the Leap ‘smart travel’ card, with Dublin Bus passengers worst-hit.

Fares will rise by 5.7pc to 17.9pc on the bus, with Leap fares increasing by 2.1pc to 12pc.

Pre-paid tickets will also increase by 16.8pc for a ten-journey ticket.

Rises have also been announced on Bus Eireann, with average hikes of 6pc across all tickets, and Iarnrod Eireann where commuter cash fares will increase by 9.1pc,

Some Luas fares will remain unchanged, while others will increase by 5.7pc.

This is the first of a series of annual fare increases to be introduced over the coming years as the CIE group of companies struggles to make ends meet.

The NTA admitted that some of the hikes were “significant”, and urged people to use the Leap card which provided discounts.

“Customers are urged to use the Leap Card, as the new Leap fares will be as cheap as or cheaper than the current cash fares – and substantially cheaper than the new cash fares,” it said.

“The fares increases have been allowed in order to protect public transport service delivery as much as possible at a period when state subvention for public transport has been reduced each year since 2009.

“Compounding the problem has been falling patronage and farebox revenues, and increasing fuel costs. Therefore, despite the companies’ cost-cutting programmes, fares increases are needed so that the transport companies can continue to run their services.”

On Dublin Bus, the cost of a short trip for an adult will rise from €1.40 to €1.65 – 17.9pc. Child fares will rise by 5c to 80c.

A single on Bus Eireann services in the cities will rise from €1.70 to €1.80 (5.9pc), while weekly fares for an adult commuter in Cork will go up by €1.20 to €19.70.

A short hop on the DART will increase to €1.65 (up 15c), Luas fares will increase by 10c.

The hikes come after rises in 2009 and 2011, and are sanctioned to take effect from December 1 next.

This is the second fare increase announced this year – in September, increases for annual and monthly tickets were announced.