New public transport fares which come into operation on Saturday have been defended by the chief executive of the National Transport Authority.
The changes will bring a mix of increases and decreases for Luas, Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Irish Rail passengers in in an effort to "simplify" pricing structures.
NTA head Anne Graham said the ten per cent increase in the monthly Luas commuter ticket to €110 still represents very good value. A "slight majority" of users would see a rise in fares but she stressed the increases were not a revenue-raising exercise.
Among the changes, announced in October are an increase in Luas adult Leap off-peak fares from €1.77 to €2, an increase of 13 per cent. The cash fare for the same journeys will go up from €2.50 to €2.80, an increase of 12 per cent.
Dublin Bus fares will increase by 5.3 per cent for adults paying cash for stages 4 to 13 from €2.85 to €3. The Leap card fare will increase from €2.15 to €2.25, an increase of 4.7 per cent for the same journey. Monthly and annual tickets will both increase by 4.5 per cent from €134 to €140 a month and from €1,340 to €1,400 for an annual pass.
Other key changes will be a 5 per cent drop in Intercity IrishRail express single fares, and a 5 per cent drop in the cost of an annual Short Hot Zone (SHZ) passes from €1,540 to €1450. Monthly and fares for Dart and commuter services in Dublin will drop by 6 per cent from €154 to €145 per month.
Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland said the changes were "not all bad" . He told The Irish Times the fact that many fares had not increased significantly was "welcome". But he said rail fares in particular represented "very bad value for money". Mr Gleeson said Irish rail passengers should be paid compensation where trains were late beyond reasonable amounts of time, a feature he said happened "with the same services nearly every day" on Irish Rail services.
The annual total fare revenue from all services will increase by an estimated €1 million as a result of the increases. Ms Graham said the different fares on the different services could be confusing, but said that the aim is to reduce the number of fares.
The aim is to eventually have one fare covering multiple modes, so a person could take a bus, the Luas and then a train – all for the one fare. “Part of the change is to bring that system one step forward, to bring bands of fare together,” she told RTE Radio.
Route changes will be introduced this weekend with Go Ahead taking over a number of routes from Dublin Bus with the city’s bus company also increasing its services, including linking up with the Luas at Broombridge.
Other changes include:
* Passengers in Bandon, Fermoy, Kinsale, Macroom and Mallow travelling to and from Cork city will be able to avail of Leap one day, seven day, monthly and annual cards.
* The city fare zone in Waterford will be extended to include service 360 to Tramore.
* There will be a new one-day (24 hour) student fare of €4.00 in Galway, Limerick and Waterford.