Dublin ranked worst for public transport in Europe due to price and ways to buy tickets

Greenpeace calls for Europe-wide lower price tickets to address climate and energy crises

Dublin has been ranked worst for public transport among 30 European capital cities by Greenpeace, based on affordability and simplicity for users in purchasing tickets.

The environmental campaign group has called for a Europe-wide reduced price ticket to address the climate and energy crises. Public transport it is too expensive in many places, it concludes, in an evaluation published on Thursday.

“In the context of the climate, energy and cost-of-living crises, the least polluting, healthiest and most efficient modes of transport should be affordable for everyone,” it says.

Greenpeace is calling on national and local governments to introduce affordable “climate tickets” for public transport, and for the European Commission to facilitate this – “with a view to introducing a Europe-wide single climate ticket in the future”.


Greenpeace EU transport campaigner Lorelei Limousin said: “Affordable public transport is a necessity, but many governments, Ireland’s included, treat it like a luxury good. Millions of people rely on buses, trams and trains to get to work and school, to meet their families and friends, to participate in society in a sustainable way.”

Dublin scored 36 out of 100 points in the city rankings. It “is the only city analysed which does not have a fixed-price long-term ticket for all means of transport and available for all passengers”.

A monthly ticket is only available for employees, when employers join the “tax saver programme”, the analysis finds. “All other passengers can only buy monthly subscriptions for buses, trams and trains in Dublin separately.”

Dublin has an electronic ticketing system, it acknowledges, with weekly payments recently capped at €32. Greenpeace has taken this price as the basis for the ranking, in the absence of a monthly ticket. Nevertheless, the regular price is the second-highest out of all cities analysed, it says – with €3.16 per day after the price level adjustment. The weekly cap for students is half of the one for adults. Seniors over 66 years old travel for free all across Ireland. The same applies to people receiving disability allowance, blind pension, carers allowance or invalidity pension.

Ireland, which ranks 13th among countries, received its points only for the travel card for seniors over 66 years, people with disabilities and carers, which provides free public transport. “Apart from this, there are no best-practice elements in the ticketing system,” it adds.

Public transport tickets in the EU are taxed at an average of 11 per cent VAT, higher than many other basic services and necessities, though in Ireland public transport tickets are exempted.

VAT on cross-border airline tickets in the EU is at zero per cent and kerosene for airplanes is not taxed, which keeps the price of polluting transport low, while climate-friendly transport remains expensive, Greenpeace says.

Apart from Luxembourg and Malta, which made domestic public transport free, only Austria, Germany and Hungary have introduced relatively affordable nationwide tickets, costing less than €3 per day, it says. Around two thirds of the countries analysed do not have countrywide long-term travel passes at all.

Mobility is the second largest expense of European households after housing. Transport accounts for 25 per cent of EU emissions and almost 70 per cent of oil used in the EU.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times