Numbers using public transport in Cork are growing at a faster pace than anywhere else in the country.
Figures from the National Transport Authority show bus and rail commuter journeys in Cork were up 14% last year to almost 15.3 million.
Almost two million extra passengers used bus services in the city in 2018 with 13.9 million journeys recorded.
Numbers using rail commuter services to Mallow, Cobh and Midleton were up 2.3% to 1.35 million.
Public transport usage in the greater Dublin region was up a more modest 4.6% to 223.4 million with growth across all operators with the exception of Bus Éireann.
The NTA figures show numbers using city bus services in Limerick were up 11% to 3.53 million and by 12% in Waterford to 840,000.
The authority said growth in public transport services in Cork had been greatly helped by a reconfiguration of bus services in the city in recent years.
It said a redesign of routes, improved timetables and more frequent services combined with targeted campaigns to promote the use of Leap cards had helped grow numbers using city bus services in Limerick and Waterford last year as well as Galway where passenger numbers were up 12.7% to 4.7 million.
Overall a record number of people used public transport in Ireland last year with over 268.6 million journeys on bus, rail and tram services.
NTA figures show there was a 6.4% increase in passenger journeys in 2018 with over 16 million extra trips on public transport over the previous year.
It surpasses the previous high of 260 million journeys on public transport recorded in 2007.
Usage had fallen as low as 210 million in 2012 as a result of the economic downturn.
“While recovery in the economy was a significant element in the growth of passenger journeys from 2012, the ongoing design of the bus networks particularly in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick have contributed to passenger journey growth,” a NTA spokesperson said.
The increases in passenger numbers combined with fare increases that averaged less than 1% contributed to overall revenue on public transport services increasing by 7.9% to €625.5m last year.
Passenger numbers on Luas services were up 11.1% to 41.8 million – the highest year-on-year growth since it began operating in 2004.
The growth is largely attributed to the impact of the extension of the Green Line from St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge which came into operation in December 2017.
Numbers on Dublin Bus services, which account for over half of all public transport journeys in Ireland, were up 2.8% to 140 million, Iarnród Éireann recorded a 5.4% increase in passengers to 48 million, partially driven by the introduction of 10-minute DART services in the latter part of the year.
Passenger numbers on Bus Éireann’s city and commuter services were up by 13.2% to 35.3 million last year, although the scale of the increase is somewhat distorted as 2017 figures were affected by 21 days of industrial action when no services operated.
Numbers on Iarnród Éireann’s intercity services were up 8.5% to 12.4 million.