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Bus fares may be cut during off-peak times

DUBLIN Bus users could be in line for reduced fares – but only if they are travelling at off-peak times.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is in discussions with the company about introducing cheaper fares to increase passenger numbers and promote bus travel.

Short-term promotional fares for certain times of the year may also be introduced, if the changes can be implemented using existing technology.

The idea of cheaper fares for DART services has previously been floated by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.

His department wants overall public transport use to increase by 2pc, or 5m passenger journeys, on state-backed public transport such as the DART, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann.

A Department of Transport spokesman said it "made sense" to utilise public transport at off-peak times, adding that Mr Varadkar was "very interested".

SOFTWARE

A spokeswoman for Dublin Bus said it was still at the "early stages" of investigating if it was possible to reduce fares at certain times of the day, and would report to the NTA in the coming weeks.

"We have to look at a number of issues including technical and software issues for on board systems," said the spokeswoman. "We're beginning that and will report back to the NTA in the next couple of weeks. It's a possible project that's still at a very early stage."

The work involves investigating if ticket machines can alter the price of a cash fare paid by someone with a Leap card at certain times of the day.

NTA chief executive Gerry Murphy said in a letter to Labour TD Sean Kenny: "While the authority believes that the proposal may carry some financial risks, it is nevertheless open to the idea, if it can be clearly demonstrated that such fares would stimulate extra passenger journeys to generate an overall increase in revenue."

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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