Bus and rail fares set to soar
Bus and rail fares across Ireland are to soar by as much as 18% within weeks.
The most punishing in a wide-ranging raft of public transport price hikes will be for short bus journeys around Dublin paid for in cash. Dublin Bus confirmed it will increase fares by 17.9% for smaller trips while longer journeys - more than three stages - will go up almost 6%.
Multi-travel tickets such as the 10-journey Travel 90 card will also go up by nearly 17%. Fares on nationwide Bus Eireann routes will increase on average 6% while Irish Rail prices will rise by as much as 14% on some commuter trips.
Luas tickets will rise by up to almost 6%, said the National Transport Authority (NTA), which is charged with giving the green light to fare rises. The price hikes come into effect from Saturday December 1 at the earliest.
The latest hikes drew calls for an overhaul at CIE, the State's public transport company.
Timmy Dooley, Fianna Fail's transport spokesman, said: "The package that CIE offers at the moment is not attractive to customers and this needs to change. The attempts by the company to address their problems are only papering over the cracks."
Mr Dooley said CIE was in a "vicious cycle" of increasing fares and falling passenger numbers.
The NTA has urged customers who normally pay cash on public transport to switch to the Leap card, a top-up card which can be used on Dublin Bus, Luas, Dart, Irish Rail and some Bus Eireann routes in the Dublin region.
While fares will also rise on Leap cards, they will be "substantially cheaper" than the new cash fares, a spokesman said.
He said: "The fares increases have been allowed in order to protect public transport service delivery as much as possible at a period when state subvention for public transport has been reduced each year since 2009, as a result of Ireland's difficult economic circumstances. Compounding the problem have been falling patronage and farebox revenues and increasing fuel costs."