Tuesday 16 July 2019

Bus Connects plan to be altered as new fare changes are revealed

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

CHANGES will be made to the controversial Bus Connects programme after 30,000 submissions were made to transport bosses.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) said the changes would be made before the final version is published.

Among the issues raised were the loss of some direct services to the city centre, alterations that would require people to change buses and longer walks to bus stops.

The plan’s architect, US based transport planner Jarrett Walker, had said that no more than 10pc to 15pc of his proposed network could be changed.

A source said the changes were far from finalised, but they expected the proposed network to largely function as designed, albeit with changes to accommodate concerns from the public.

“There will be changes to the network we proposed,” said NTA chief executive Anne Graham.

The comments were made as the NTA announced new public transport fares that will take effect on December 1.

The big winners are those who use the train across the Dublin Short Hop Zone. This covers an area from Balbriggan in north Dublin to Kilcoole in Wicklow, and to Kilcock and Sallins and Naas in Kildare.

Monthly and annual tickets will fall by almost 6pc.

A monthly fare will drop from €154 to €145 and an annual fare will drop by €90 to €1,450.

There are also changes to the fare structure, with a new Zone 1 fare coming into force. This will cover train journeys of less than 4km. A Leap single fare in these zones will drop from €1.81 to €1.70.

In Zone 2, some fares will increase while those on longer trips will stay the same or drop.

A Leap single fare of €1.81 will rise to €2.10. This will cover a journey of up to 8km. The same trip on Dublin Bus is €2.15 or €2.60.

In all, the NTA collects €500m a year in fares. It said this figure will increase by €1m next year.

About 60pc of Irish Rail passengers will pay less, while slightly more than 50pc of those using Dublin Bus, Luas and Bus Eireann will pay more.

The NTA plans to move to a new two-fare structure by 2020, where there will be a fare for shorter trips on bus, rail or Luas of around €1.50, and a second fare between €2.15 and €2.60 that will cover unlimited use of any form of public transport, provided all trips are completed within 90 minutes.

The main changes for Dublin Bus is that the €2.15 will rise by 10c, while the €2.60 will drop by the same amount.

The Nitelink fare will drop from €5.29 to €4.50 using a Leap card, and a standard fare of €1 for Leap and €1.30 for cash will apply.

There is no change to fares for schoolchildren.

However, monthly and annual Dublin Bus tickets will rise by €7 and €70 to €140 and €1,400, an increase of 4.5pc.

Overall, fare adjustments range from drops of 14.9pc to hikes of 5.3pc.

Changes on Luas include scrapping peak and off-peak fares to a single fare, while the city centre off-peak €1 fare is also gone. Annual and monthly tickets will rise by 10pc to €121 and €1,210.

The NTA said Luas had historically been cheaper, and the fares were being adjusted to bring them into line with those charged for bus and rail.


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