Dublin bottom of class in Europe for costly, complex public transport fares, Greenpeace study finds

City has no simple, fixed-price, long-term universal ticket. Photo: RobsonPL/Getty

Caroline O'Doherty

Dublin ranks worst of Europe’s capital cities for its complicated and costly public transport fares, a Greenpeace study of ticketing policies has found.

Even accounting for recent across-the-board fare reductions and extra discounts for young people, passengers in the city pay more than all but one other capital – London.

The lack of a simple, fixed-price, long-term universal ticket dropped Dublin to the bottom spot of the 30 capitals surveyed.

The study, to be published by the environmental organisation today, ranks Luxembourg, Tallinn and Valletta jointly as the best cities for fare affordability and simplicity.

In 2020, Luxembourg became the first country in Europe to make all public transport free, while Malta and its capital, Valetta, followed late last year.

Tallin’s public transport has been free to residents since 2013 although tourists and other visitors still have to pay.

Where city fares apply, the cheapest tickets are in Prague, Bratislava, Rome, Vienna and, until next month, Madrid.

Travel in each of those cities costs between just 60c to 85c a day using a monthly or annual ticket.

By contrast, a day’s travel in London costs at best €4.11 but that depends on how many zones a passenger crosses.

In Dublin, the equivalent costs €3.16 a day but there is no easy route to an annual ticket.

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Services are free for seniors, people with disabilities and their carers but monthly and annual tax-saver tickets are only available to the employed and not all services are covered by one ticket.

Other monthly and weekly tickets are available but the services and trips they cover vary.

“Dublin is the only city analysed which does not have a fixed-price long-term ticket for all means of transport and available for all passengers,” the report says.

The study also ranks countries, but while Ireland comes in 15th place, that is based on being wrongly penalised for a mistaken interpretation of the Vat rate.

Public transport in Ireland is Vat-exempt although in theory it is subject to a 23pc rate which would be the third highest in Europe if applied.

Luxembourg and Malta, which have free countrywide transport, are the top two, followed by Austria which has an affordable countrywide ticket.

Germany introduced a monthly ticket from May 1 that costs a maximum of €49 a month for all travel throughout the country apart from long-distance trains.

Hungary’s version, also introduced this week, is €50.

Greenpeace is calling on national and local governments to introduce “climate tickets” –affordable, flexible and simple tickets – to encourage greater public transport use.

Lorelei Limousin, Greenpeace’s EU transport campaigner, said affordable public transport was a necessity but too many governments treated it like a luxury good.

The National Transport Authority last week announced a revised strategy for fares that it says will simplify charging structures and make fares more consistent in Dublin and on commuter and town-to-town routes.​