Strong rise in public transport numbers as new buses arrive
An extra 2.2 million journeys have been made on public transport in the first six months of the year.
New figures from the main operators show that demand for bus, rail and tram is growing as unemployment falls and the economic recovery continues.
The figures come as Dublin Bus unveiled 90 new double-decker buses, which will operate across the capital.
The buses, which cost almost €35m, will replace older vehicles in the fleet. They are fully wheelchair-accessible and include bilingual passenger information signs in the upper and lower saloons announcing the next bus stop. They are also fitted with internal CCTV cameras and have wi-fi.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the investment showed the Government's commitment to funding public transport services, with the bus becoming a "more attractive" option for commuters.
"The delivery of 90 new vehicles, equipped with a range of enhanced features, will provide greater comfort and convenience for Dublin Bus customers and will contribute to providing a more sustainable mode of transport, particularly for commuting purposes," he said.
Dublin Bus has carried some 35 million passengers so far this year, which is an increase of 700,000, or 2pc.
Chief executive Ray Coyne said the figures showed how service improvements were driving passenger numbers, adding that the new buses would enter service from January and operate on routes 13, 15, 27 and 40.
The additions to the fleet meet new EU emission standards, consume less fuel and are quieter.
Mr Coyne said this meant the entire community would benefit from their arrival, and not just customers and drivers.
Meanwhile, new figures show the other public transport companies are growing strongly, with an extra 2.2 million journeys made across bus, rail and Luas so far this year. The Luas has carried an extra 740,000 passengers, up 4.4pc, between January 1 and July 12.
Dublin Bus has added 700,000 journeys, while Irish Rail numbers are up by 640,000, or 3.5pc.
The strongest growth in rail passengers is on the DART service, up 5.8pc to 8.16 million journeys. Commuter numbers are up 2.1pc to 5.78 million, while intercity journeys totalled 4.95 million, up 1.5pc.
Bus Éireann said it carried 19.3 million passengers to the period ending July 12, which was up 200,000 on the first six months of 2014. However, two days of strike action by drivers last May meant that no passengers were carried on these days.