Most commuters’ fares will rise next year

Transport authority ‘very disappointed’ with rejection of College Green plaza plan

Monthly and annual Dublin Bus tickets will increase by between 2% and 4.5%. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Monthly and annual Dublin Bus tickets will increase by between 2% and 4.5%. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Most commuters on Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Luas will see a small fare increase next year while the majority of Irish Rail users will see ticket prices fall.

One the largest increases announced on Thursday was for Luas commuters using monthly and annual tickets who will see a 10 per cent increase in ticket price. The fare determinations for 2019 are a mixed bag for commuters with some fares rising and some falling across all services in an effort to “simplify” pricing structures.

The National Transport Authority (NTA), which sets public transport fares said a slight majority of users would see a rise in fares but stressed the increases were not a revenue-raising exercise.

The annual total fare revenue from all services will increase by an estimated €1 million. “When you consider that we actually gather fare revenue of over €500 million, an increase of €1 million is almost in the rounding,” said Tim Gaston, director of public transport services at the NTA.

“So on balance this fare increase is actually about changing and rationalising rather than raising revenue.”

Passenger numbers across all services have risen this year, with 12.9 per cent more people using Bus Éireann and 9.9 per cent more using the Luas compared with this time in 2017.

On Dublin Bus the price of a short journey using a Leap card will increase by 5 cent to €1.55 while a medium journey will increase by 10 cent to €2.25. Long journeys (more than 13 stages) will be 10 cent cheaper. Monthly and annual Dublin Bus tickets will increase by between 2 per cent and 4.5 per cent.

The NTA says it wants to simplify Dublin Bus fares ahead of BusConnects, a radical reorganisation of the capital’s bus routes. The authority said the second-biggest source of bus delays, after traffic congestion, is the payment process. “So a simpler fare system needs to be in place.”

In time it wants to introduce a two-fare system. There will be one fare for short journeys and a higher fare allowing for 90 minutes of travel on bus, rail or Luas.

Peak and off-peak Luas fares will also be merged ahead of BusConnects. Adult Zone Two fares will increase by between 3.1 per cent and 15.8 per cent while other adult fares will decrease by up to 6.9 per cent. One-, seven- and 30-day fares for adults and children will also increase by up to 4.1 per cent.

The authority also announced a new annual €600 add-on fare for Irish Rail and Bus Éireann commuters travelling from outside Dublin, which will allow them to use Luas and Dublin Bus services for the final part of their journey. On Irish Rail some monthly and annual fares will increase by up to 1.7 per cent but most will remain unchanged.

A full list of changes to bus, rail and Luas fares can be found on the NTA’s website

College Green

Separately, NTA chief executive Anne Graham said the authority was “very disappointed” An Bord Pleanála rejected plans for the creation of a traffic-free plaza at College Green in Dublin on the basis it would adversely affect bus transport and traffic in the city.

Ms Graham said it was too early to say if the plan could be saved by adjusting traffic flows.

“We have to consider the issue about College Green in the context of BusConnects. It’s early days,” she said.

“It does need to be considered now how we can remove the conflict between public transport, general traffic and pedestrians and cyclists in that very busy area of the city centre.”