Numbers using public transport soar as 16 million extra trips taken
A record number of people used public transport in Ireland last year - with over 268 million journeys recorded on bus, rail and tram services.
New figures published by the National Transport Authority (NTA) show there was a 6.4pc increase in passenger journeys in 2018, with over 16 million extra trips on public transport.
It surpasses the previous high of 260 million journeys on public transport recorded in 2007.
Usage of public transport services had fallen as low as 210 million in 2012 as a result of the economic downturn.
"While recovery in the economy was a significant element in the growth of passenger journeys from 2012, the ongoing design of the bus networks, particularly in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick, have contributed to passenger journey growth," an NTA spokesperson said.
The biggest percentage increase in passenger numbers in 2018 was on Luas services, which were up 11.1pc to 41.8 million - the highest year-on-year growth since it began operating in 2004.
The growth is largely attributed to the impact of the extension of the Green Line, from St Stephen's Green to Broombridge, which came into operation in December 2017.
Numbers on Dublin Bus services, which account for over half of all public transport journeys in Ireland, were up 2.8pc to 140 million.
Iarnród Éireann recorded a 5.4pc increase in passengers to 48 million, which the NRA said was partially driven by the introduction of 10-minute Dart services in the latter part of the year.
Passenger numbers on Bus Éireann's city and commuter services were up by 13.2pc to 35.3 million last year, although the scale of the increase is somewhat distorted as 2017 figures were affected by 21 days of industrial action when no services operated.