Weary commuters face fresh ticket price hikes

Analysis: National Transport Authority sanctions fare increases on bus, Luas and rail

Cash fares on Dublin Bus will go up by over 7 per cent while Luas fares will rise by more than 6 per cent from
November 1st. Short hop tickets on Irish Rail will climb by over 9 per cent while Bus Éireann fares will rise by an average of 5 per cent . Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Cash fares on Dublin Bus will go up by over 7 per cent while Luas fares will rise by more than 6 per cent from November 1st. Short hop tickets on Irish Rail will climb by over 9 per cent while Bus Éireann fares will rise by an average of 5 per cent . Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Users of public transport will be forgiven a weary “not again” this morning after the National Transport Authority (NTA) announced it had once more sanctioned price increases hitting all Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Luas and Irish Rail passengers beginning this week.

Cash fares on Dublin Bus will go up by over 7 per cent while Luas fares will rise by more than 6 per cent from November 1st. Short hop tickets on Irish Rail will climb by over 9 per cent while Bus Éireann fares will rise by an average of 5 per cent .

Such increases are running at over 10 times the rate of inflation and will be hard for many to take coming on the back of many other increases. This time last year, Dublin Bus announced fare increases of over 10 per cent. In 2012 the increases were in excess of 18 per cent and in 2011 prices jumped by more than 20 per cent.

But what is driving the increases? In recent years transport companies have been quick to point the finger at rising fuel prices, falling passenger numbers and cuts in State funding. On this occasion, none of those things apply.

Passenger numbers have increased in recent months - as the economy has recovered - while a litre of diesel is cheaper than it was this time last year. The subvention from the State has not been touched.

The NTA’s chief executive Gerry Murphy told The Irish Times that increases in cash fares had to be “taken in the context of an alternative where there have been very small increases”. He said journey fares were nearly 20 per cent less for Leap Card users, who will pay less in 2015 than what those paying with cash paid in 2012.

He also pointed out that the companies are still struggling to deal with subvention cuts in recent years, with both Bus Eireann and Irish Rail facing significant losses in 2015.

Cuts in funding are undeniablly a big problem buy staff wages will also push fares higher next year. In June of 2012, a wage deal was reached at Bus Eireann which cut costs. It expires in January while a similar agreement for Dublin Bus expires months later.

The money to pay the higher wages will have to be found somewhere - with the easiest revenue source once again proving to be being the pockets of passengers.