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12 PER CENT INCREASE IN SUBSIDY FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT SEES PASSENGERS NUMBERS JUMP

16m more passengers use public transport in 2017

The National Transport Authority’s statistical bulletin, ‘Bus & Rail Statistics for Ireland – State Funded Services’, has beenpublished today and shows both an increase in funding and an increase in total passenger numbers across subsidised services last year.

Overall state funding for Public Service Obligation (PSO)services increased by 12% last year compared to 2016 from €249m to €278m. Passenger revenues nationally also grew, increasing by 5.1% from €551m to €579m. This means that combined revenue for PSO services, between subsidy and fares, has increased by over 7% in 2017.

Since 2011, the combined revenues have increased from €701m to €857m, a 22% increase.

Funding under the Free Travel Scheme has remained largely static in recent years. The number of journeys has increased by over 16% since 2013 to 47m.

252m passenger journeys were provided by Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas and LocalLink on their Public Service Obligation services in 2017. That’s an increase of over 16m, or 7% compared to 2016.

The performance by Dublin Bus has been very strong and the company provided the largest number of passenger journeys in 2017 at over 136m. This represents an increase of almost 9% over 2016 and represents four straight years of passenger growth.Dublin Bus now accounts for 54% of all PSO passenger journeys.

Iarnród Éireann saw passenger journeys increase from 42.8m to 45.5m, an increase of over 6%. The company is benefitting from continued economic growth and has seen demand increasing across the network. The introduction of new services, such as those through the Phoenix Park Tunnel have helped passenger numbers continue to expand.

Numbers on Luas increased by 10.6% to 37.6m, in 2017. With the Green Line now extended to Broombridge, and providing interchange with the Red Line and greater connectivity to rail services, those numbers are likely to grow substantially again in 2018.

Bus Éireann figures for 2017 are 31.2m – down on last year’s 32.1m – but that’s mainly as a result of the industrial action which lasted three full weeks. On a like-for-like basis the annual number of passenger journeys is up 2.6% in 2017.

Tim Gaston, Director of Public Transport Services, National Transport Authority said: “2017 was another year of strong passenger growth in public transport, and the role of the operators and their staff should be acknowledged in that regard.

“Today’s figures are a further indication of a clear demand for safe, efficient and reliable public transport services. Particularly so when the public transport alternative is environmentally friendly and offers value for money.

“It was also year of strong growth in funding, with an increase in both passenger revenues and state subsidy for PSO services.

“2018 is looking like another busy year for the public transport sector, and in order to meet this increased demand, seven new 55-meter trams are being introduced on the Green Luas line, adding over 2,500 person capacity to the line.

“Iarnród Éireann will be introducing a 10-minute frequency on DART services, additional off-peak services on the Maynoothline, an additional service in each direction on the Sligo line and new off-peak services on the Kildare line operating through the Phoenix Park tunnel.

“In terms of bus services in the capital, there will be 140 brand-new vehicles in service, which means greater capacity and more services.

“Plans are underway to increase the capacity on Bus Éireann contracted services throughout the country. Some 80 new vehicles are in the pipeline for PSO services provided by the company, and they are currently recruiting drivers.”