CIE fares set to rise in new year

 

The Government has approved a range of fare increases for CIÉ that will see the cost of basic bus and DART journeys in Dublin rise by 5 cent in the new year.

Some fares are likely to rise by more than that in a round of "inflationary" increases in the cost of public transport next year that may be published today.

The increases for commuters and other travellers will be the latest in a long line of price rises for basic services, with electricity, health and motor fuel costs also on the rise.

Sanctioned by the Cabinet on Tuesday, the CIÉ fare increases follow newly-released figures last week which indicated that the annual inflation rate was at its highest level in more than a year when it rose to 2.9 per cent last month.

Sources said the fare changes cleared by the Government will increase the average cost of CIÉ's bus and rail services by some 3.5 per cent next year. This is less than half the average rise of 8 per cent that the State transport company sought last month in a submission that stressed its increasing fuel bill and the loss of business due to the introduction of the Luas.

However, the Minister for Transport, Mr Cullen, is understood to have regarded the initial proposal from CIÉ as "excessive".

Householders are already facing a 3.5 per cent rise in electricity prices in the new year. This latest rise, approved by the energy regulator, comes only three months after a 9 per cent rise in electricity prices.

Some two million VHI and BUPA members are also facing an increase of around 5 per cent in health insurance premiums due to a Government decision to substantially increase the cost of private beds in public hospitals.

The latest figures indicate that inflation is being pushed upwards because energy prices are running 15.3 per cent ahead of last year. Petrol prices have risen by 2.9 per cent and diesel is up 5.1 per cent.