Strong public transport performance in 2016 with passenger numbers up by 4.4%

5 January 2017

10M more passengers use public transport in 2016

The National Transport Authority today published full-year figures (preliminary) for each of the state-supported public transport operators for 2016.

There was an overall increase in passenger numbers, with 234m passengers using subsidised, PSO (Public Service Obligation) services provided by Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann and Luas. That’s an increase of almost 10m, or 4.4% compared to 2015.

  • Dublin Bus carried over half of all passengers, with figures increasing by 4.6% to 125.3m in 2016.
  • Iarnród Éireann passenger numbers increased substantially by 7.9% in total with Dart, Commuter and Inter-City services all seeing growth in numbers.
  • Bus Éireann continues to demonstrate passenger number growth, up 1.7m to 31.9 million for subsidised services.
  • Luas numbers for 2016 are 34.1 million, down slightly on last year. This is as a result of industrial action earlier in the year and the closure of the Red Line east of Jervis for six weeks in the summer.

Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority said: “2016 was another year of strong growth figures for the sector, and the operators and their staff should be proud of their achievements.
“The figures we are publishing today are an indication that there is a clear demand for a safe, efficient and reliable public transport service. Particularly so when the public transport alternative is environmentally friendly and offers value for money. “2017 will be another busy year for the NTA, with a strong focus on delivery.

“The Luas Cross City project is scheduled for completion before the end of the year. Not only will this substantially increase the capacity of Luas, but it will also be a significant step towards a more closely integrated public transport services across the capital.

“This will also be the year when we see an increase in Dart frequency, and an increase in commuter services through the newly-opened Phoenix Park Tunnel.

“Additional funding has been provided by the government this year to subsidise public transport which means we can begin to identify ways of increasing capacity in existing Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann services.

“But public transport is not simply a matter of concern in Dublin. In fact a properly functioning public transport system is a key issue nationally, when it comes to promoting balanced regional economic development, preventing social isolation, and protecting the environment.

“In 2017, NTA will be looking at ways of building on the success of recent years. We will do that by identifying ways of meeting the demands on public transport that will continue to increase in all regions, well into the future.

“The NTA will continue to work with LocalLink offices in rural Ireland to deliver more public transport services to all communities, and with bus operators across the country in developing more routes and services.

“There is real concern about the increasing problem of road congestion which impacts on bus reliability. NTA believes that there is a need to greatly improve the infrastructure to offer higher priority for buses in Dublin and the regional cities, and in 2017 we will be bringing forward plans to do just that.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross T.D. welcomed today’s preliminary passenger figures and stated: “2016 was the fourth successive year of passenger growth in our subsidised public transport services.

“This growth is a welcome sign of general economic activity and is facilitated by the hard work of employees and management across the transport operators, and the significant contribution of the ordinary taxpayer through their annual subvention to public transport services.

“In last year’s Budget I secured further additional money for our public transport services and I look forward to working with all our operators in ensuring quality public transport services for all in 2017.

Passenger Journeys for Public Service Obligation (subsidised) services in millions*

Year Dublin Bus* Bus Éireann* Iarnród Éireann Luas Total
2010 117.05 29.13 38.23 27.53 211.94
2011 115.05 28.48 37.38 29.10 210.01
2012 113.28 28.63 36.74 29.32 207.97
2013 112.49 28.64 36.74 30.51 208.38
2014 116.26 29.69 37.80 32.61 216.36
2015 119.80 30.23 39.66 34.60 224.29
2016Preliminary 125.30 31.90 42.80 34.10 234.10
Annual growth 5.50 1.67 3.14 -0.50 9.81
Growth % 4.59% 5.51% 7.92% -1.45% 4.37%


Does not include commercial services such as Airlink, Expressway, sightseeing tours etc