COMMUTERS will be hit with steep train fare increases today, but Irish Rail is still not selling the new money-saving Leap cards.
The company said that a hardware problem meant they could not yet sell the integrated smartcards which allow passengers to avail of cheaper rates on trains, buses and trams.
The glitch means that they are still working on ensuring that the cards will be available from their ticket machines within the first quarter of this year.
However, the cards are now available online from www.leapcard.ie and more than 300 newsagents and other stores in the Dublin region.
Rail Users Ireland said it was unfortunate that the long-awaited new system which had been under development for 10 years was still not available at stations.
"They will also not be able to top up at stations until this is sorted out," said spokesman Dr Mark Gleeson.
Irish Rail's Dart and commuter train fares are rising by up to 7pc in Dublin and Cork today. A typical journey from Dun Laoghaire to Tara Street is rising from €2.40 to €2.50, but people using a Leap card will pay just €2.10.
The cards cost €5 to buy and the customer then tops up by an amount which is debited each time they use the card.
This €5 initial charge is also used as a deposit which is then used up if a passenger exceeds their fare credit meaning they can complete their journey.
Dublin Bus fares have already risen by 15pc this week.