Discounted Leap card fares that were first introduced in 2022, including the ability to travel for 90 minutes across Dublin for a flat fee of €2 are to remain in place, the National Transport Authority (NTA) said.
The TFI €2 fare allows commuters to transfer between Dublin Bus, Luas and most DART, commuter rail and Go-Ahead services, and the NTA said this has led to an increase in passenger numbers across its services.
Over 308 million passenger journeys were provided by Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas, Go-Ahead Ireland and TFI Local Link on ‘Transport for Ireland’ Public Service Obligation (PSO) services last year.
This made it the busiest ever year for its public transport network, according to preliminary figures for 2023, which were released last week.
This is the first year that passenger numbers on PSO services have exceeded 300 million.
There was a 24% increase in passenger numbers in 2023, when compared with the previous year, and a 5% increase above the previous record year in 2019.
The NTA said it is now aiming to set its fares on a “more equitable and easy to understand basis,” making the cost per kilometre travelled more consistent.
It will now be related to a straight line drawn between the origin and final destination of a journey.
The ‘Dublin City Zone’, which was announced last year, will now be extended approximately 23km from the city centre, broadly matching the existing 90-minute zone.
The ‘Dublin Commuter Zone’ now extends 50km from Dublin city centre, to include towns such as Drogheda, Navan, Trim, Enfield, Clane, Prosperous, Newbridge, Kildare, Greystones and Wicklow.
A new all-modes ticket will also be introduced this year which will offer full access to Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland, Luas and Irish Rail services within the ‘Dublin City Zone’.
Costing €96 euro per month or €960 annually, this will represent a saving of 38% for those availing of this ticket who would have previously paid €155 or €1,550 respectively.
There are additional savings via the Taxsaver scheme.
A weekly Leap card cap for those travelling in the City Zone will now be reduced to €24 compared to the current €32 per week.
Weekly and monthly tickets in the Dublin Commuter Zone will be set at a price that varies according to the distance travelled, which should help the most frequent travellers.
In areas like Skerries, Balbriggan or Greystones, a weekly Leap ticket will continue at the existing fare of €32 and half that, at €16 for young adults and children.
Standard bus fares in the cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford will remain at a discounted rate of €1.35.
The NTA says all of these changes are not projected to increase overall fare revenue, but are “a rebalancing of fares so that they are fairer and more consistent across the board.”
The changes mean that fares for some journeys will go up a little, while fares for others will go down.