Belfast Telegraph

City tram service sees commuters make the switch

The Luas tram service in Dublin has bucked the public transport trend, with the number of people using its two lines rising this year.

Passengers are making the switch from bus to rail and tram as new figures show that CIE companies continued to lose customers during the recession.

Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann will carry almost 12m fewer passengers this year, while Luas and Iarnrod Eireann are expected to increase their share of the public transport market.

Much of the gain comes after almost a month of sub-zero temperatures, which forced many on to public transport. But the Railway Procurement Agency, which operates the Luas, said the extension of the Red Line to the Point Depot and the Cherrywood extension on the Green Line helped drive numbers up to 2008 levels.

Preliminary figures for 2010 from each of the public transport companies show that Dublin Bus numbers fell to 119m journeys, a drop of 7%.

Bus Eireann figures were also down 7%, to 39.9m. Luas saw an increase of just over 6%, up to 27m and Iarnrod Eireann experienced a slight rise of 3%, up to 39.65m.

Iarnrod Eireann said the cold weather gave a boost to numbers.