Bus Éireann fares across Cork, Limerick and Galway will fall by almost 50% on some routes as part of a major new restructuring of ticket prices, writes Conall Ó Fátharta.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) said that the expansion of city bus zones in regional cities along with a number of other initiatives means that passengers on around five million journeys on Bus Éireann will pay lower fares from December.
Currently about 20m passengers each year use city services in Cork (12.7m) Galway (4.3m) and Limerick (3m) each year.
Following a review, the NTA decided that current areas served by regional city fares were not accommodating all areas where regular city-type commuting was taking place. As a result, the city fare zone has been expanded in Cork, Galway and Limerick meaning that around 3m passengers in these cities will be able to avail of lower city fares.
Under the new arrangement, a passenger travelling in from Carrigaline into Cork City will make significant savings. Currently, the fare for an adult passenger taking this trip is €3.52 leap or €4.40 cash.
With the changes to the city fare zone from 1 December, this passenger will pay €1.89 leap or €2.70 cash — a saving of 46%. Similar savings will be available to passengers from Oranmore to Galway City or Castleconnell to Limerick City.
Children under five will continue to be able to travel for free.
However, Dublin Bus fares for mid-range journeys will increase by 5%. Short and longer journeys will see no change in the fare
Similarly, Luas prices will remain unchanged on shorter or longer journeys, while mid-range journeys will show a slight rise. To mark the opening of Luas Cross City, a €1 city centre fare is being introduced for off-peak journeys Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.
For Cork users of Irish Rail, there is some good news as the adjustment of fare zones in the Cork commuter area will be simplified, resulting in fare reductions of up to 25%.
However, in 2018, a range of Irish Rail fares will rise by an average of about 1.2%.
Irish Rail has also announced a series of revised schedules on a number of routes across the October weekend due to engineering works.
Today, all Dublin Heuston to Cork services will include bus transfers between Mallow and Cork, in both directions. All Mallow to Tralee services will include bus transfers between Mallow and Banteer, in both directions. There will be revised times for Limerick/Limerick Junction services and trains between Limerick and Galway, Ballybrophy (via Nenagh) and Waterford.
On Sunday, Dublin Heuston/Cork services will include bus transfers between Charleville or Mallow and Cork, in both directions, for services up to and including the 10am Dublin Heuston to Cork and 1.20pm Cork to Dublin Heuston.
Mallow/Tralee services will include bus transfers between Mallow and Banteer or Tralee up to and including the 11.05am Tralee to Mallow service and the 11.20am Mallow to Tralee.