DUBLIN Bus passengers have overpaid their fares to the tune of almost €10m in small change over the past five years.
However, the recession has dramatically increased the amount of small change reclaimed by bus passengers in the capital – with about €133,000 more per annum on average recouped last year.
Passengers on Dublin Bus do not get change on board; instead they must take their tickets to its headquarters on O'Connell Street to get their money back.
Most of the amounts owed are just 5c, 10c and 20c per journey, but it all adds up. Based on figures provided by Dublin Bus, last year bus passengers made a trip into Dublin Bus's offices in order to reclaim 33pc of the excess €1.9m paid by them through the year. This compares with 26pc of overpayments reclaimed in 2007.
Dublin Bus says a steady €1.9m on average each year has been overpaid by passengers in small amounts for bus journeys in the capital between 2007 and 2012, amounting to €9.5m in total through the five-year period.
Part of the unclaimed money has gone into a "rolling fund" to cover Dublin Bus against future overpay redemptions – as there is no time limit on fund recovery.
The money has also funded the annual Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards, a cross-community city project in operation since 2003.
Interest payments earned on the €9.5m "Unclaimed Passengers Change Fund" were reinvested into bus services.
Dublin Bus says reclaims have already fallen sharply this year thanks to an increased uptake of Leap cards, which enable cashless fare transactions. The company has also recently launched an online fare calculator designed to allow passengers to work out exactly how much they need to pay for their journey.