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Tuesday 18 December 2018

Revealed: The winners and losers in major public transport ticket price shake-up

  • Bus Éireann fares to drop by up to 29pc
  • Free transport for children under five
  • Irish Rail prices to increase slightly
  • Monthly Luas ticket to increase
  • 1 in 5 get free transport
  • Changes to come into effect in December
Connolly station. Photo: Stock PA
Connolly station. Photo: Stock PA
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Fares across the Bus Éireann network will drop by as much as 29pc in some cases from December 1 after a major restructuring of ticket prices.

Some commuters using city bus services in Cork, Galway and Limerick will see their fares cut by almost half, while those using services between towns and villages will see average reductions of almost 18pc, if they pay with the Leap card.

But there will be winners and losers across the entire public transport network as new fares are introduced in just over a month.

All children under five will be able to travel for free on any public transport service, up from four years, and there will be a special €1 fare for using Luas services in Dublin City Centre, which will apply for a year.

However, the cost of a monthly and annual Luas ticket in Dublin rises by 10pc, to €110 and €1,100 respectively, as fares on the light-rail system are brought into line with those paid by bus passengers.

Many fares across the Irish Rail network will increase slightly, generally in line with the cost of living.

In its fares determination published this afternoon, the National Transport Authority also says that Dublin Bus passengers making mid-range trips will also see increases, but stressed that less than half of the company’s customers would pay more.

Changes are being made to hundreds of fares across the network, with good news for rail passengers in Cork, many of whom will pay cheaper fares for city commuter services.

But the NTA warns that almost one in five of all public transport users enjoy free travel, but the cost is not being borne by the Department of Social Protection.

This has resulted in a “greater proportion” of fares from paying passengers, and Government funding, being used to subsidise the costs.

The NTA also says that additional services introduced in recent years is adding to operational costs, and that staff pay rises have also “exerted pressure” on the companies.

“While a small number of fares will be increased moderately in 2018, a large proportion will be reduced, “it said.

“The reasoning behind the reduction in fares is to ensure that all public transport passengers pay a fare which reflects the distance travelled the level of service they enjoy and the cost of operating the service.

“On the other hand public transport fare increases have been deemed to be necessary in recent years to compensate for the increased operating costs and reduced PSO (government) payments.”

Further details are at www.nationaltransport.ie.

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