3% increase in rail fares gets the green light

RAIL fares are to increase from March 1 after the National Transport Authority announced yesterday that it has sanctioned Iarnród Éireann to increase DART, commuter and some intercity fares by an average of 3%.

The rail company had sought but was refused an average fare increase of 5%.

The NTA said any fare increase for DART and inner commuter services would be limited to no greater than 5% although the average rise is 3.2%, while allowing for figures to be rounded up to the nearest 5 cent.

Outer commuter services will be restricted to an average increase of 3.1%. For example, the cost of a single journey from Mallow to Cork will increase by 30 cent to €9.80 and from Sallins to Dublin Heuston by 20 cent to €7.20.

Increases in intercity fares have been limited to single fares that are less than €25.

However, price-rises have not been sanctioned for intercity services with single fares more than €25 until Iarnród Éireann has submitted a pricing policy to the NTA. They include services from Cork, Waterford, Galway and Thurles to Dublin.

The latest increase in public transport costs comes just a week after the NTA authorised a fare increase for Dublin Bus which saw single journey fares increase by 5-10 cent which came into effect yesterday. Dublin Bus was granted increases ranging from 2.8%-4.5% on all adult fares.

The NTA is also expected to sanction a fare increase sought by Bus Éireann within the next few weeks.

Iarnród Éireann sought permission to raise its fares on the basis that it has seen a €28.1 milliom reduction in the state subvention since 2009, while its fuel costs have also increased by €2m per annum.

The company has also suffered a fall of €34.8m in revenue over the past two years. However, Iarnród Éireann claims it has also managed to reduce its operating costs by €57.3m over the past two years.

The NTA said it recognised that requiring Iarnród Éireann to absorb the additional costs of a reduced subvention and increased fuel costs which resulted from measures announced in Budget 2011 would have had a significant detrimental impact on its services.

However, it claimed Iarnród Éireann’s request for a 5% fare increase was “inappropriate” given the current climate of falling costs and general economic constraints.

Increases for season tickets sold under the Taxsaver system will not come into effect until May 1.

Smartcard fares are unaffected by the latest increases.

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