Commuters welcome reduction in public transport fares

Expansion of services is necessary to increase use, commuters say

A reduction in public transport fares is a welcome step to increasing use but will not be enough to encourage many people to leave their cars at home, commuters have said.

From Monday, students and adults under 24 can avail of a new, permanent youth fare, which is 50 per cent lower than normal prices.

Additionally, the Government introduced a temporary 20 per cent reduction in the cost of public transport in the Greater Dublin Area in response to high levels on inflation and a cost of living crisis.

The reduction, which was introduced elsewhere in the country in April, is temporary and is due to expire at the end of the year. It is the first reduction in the national fare price since 1947.


Under the new changes, the TFI 90-minute fare has fallen to €2 for adults and 65c for children. The youth scheme has seen the cost of a short journey fall to 65c, while the 90-minute journeys now cost €1.

Feljin Jose, chairman of the Dublin Commuters Coalition, said the introduction of the 50 per cent reduction for students and those under 24 is “amazing” and a “really good way of making young people use public transport into the later stage of their lives”.

“It can instill a use of public transport into young people, and hopefully they will maintain that habit as they grow older,” he said.

On the overall 20 per cent reduction, Mr Jose said it's a "really good step", but warned it is still "a lot of money for a lot of people".

The coalition is in favour of the reduction being maintained past the end of the year, or “preferably” having it decreased further.

“This alone won’t do it for everyone, even if it can work out cheaper than driving. Cost is one issue, but it isn’t the only one. Public transport isn’t frequent enough for some people. It’s also about the frequency, reliability and quality of service. It’s good to see a multi-pronged approach.”

Ciarán Meers, of the Cork Commuters Coalition, welcomed the measure, and said it’s particularly great to see during a cost of living crisis.

“It’s a great step in the right direction, but there is still more work to be done. No matter how much you want to take public transport, if the service isn’t there to meet your needs then you won’t do it,” he said.

“Expanding the service is also key, making sure buses go to places they previously didn’t. Some routes were at capacity pre-covid. I know this is billed as an end-of-the-year measure, but hopefully this is something that can be retained and possibly reduced further.”

According to the National Transport Authority (NTA), in the first three weeks of the 20 per cent discount being available on Bus Éireann services, passenger journeys climbed by nearly 10 per cent in the regional cities, with Galway and Limerick now ahead of pre-Covid levels.

Anne Graham, chief executive of the body, said she hopes the pattern will continue across the country, and that people will consider leaving the car at home at least once a week.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times