Passenger journeys on bus and rail grew by 6.5 million last year but CIE has warned it remains on a bumpy road financially.
The company’s annual report shows 241m journeys were made on Irish Rail, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus services in 2015.
However, while there was a corresponding increase in fare revenue, the company’s overall financial position was worse than in 2014, with the net deficit increasing from €3.3m to €26.4m.
This was due mainly to reduced Public Service Obligation (PSO) subsidies, higher payroll costs due to recruitment of extra drivers and greater expenditure on rail infrastructure.
CIÉ group chair Vivienne Juup said there were “considerable challenges” ahead, with the rail network “significantly underfunded”, and the possibility that Government funding for maintenance may be found to be a breach of the EU rules on state aid.
She also said a €22.2m cut in the PSO provision from €211.8m to €189.6m last year had more than offset the gains made in increased fare revenues.
Ms Juup said the changing level of State supports annually, and reliance on occasional supplementary budgets, caused uncertainty. “The availability of multi-annual funding, to secure the provision of transport services which are both financially and operationally sustainable remains a principal concern of the CIE board.”
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