According to preliminary full-year figures from the National Transport Authority (NTA) for each of the state-supported public transport operators, all operators saw passenger numbers grow — with an extra 7.7m journeys taken last year
Dublin Bus, which carries over half of all public transport passengers in Ireland, carried 119.5m passengers up by 2.8% from 2014, despite the ongoing Luas cross-city construction works in Dublin city centre.
The Luas saw the largest growth and carried 34.6m passengers last year — up from 6.1% from 2014. It was followed by Iarnród Éireann which carried 39.8m, a jump of 5.3% on 2014.
Bus Éireann also saw passenger growth — up 1.7% to 30.2m.
Commenting on the figures, the chief executive of the NTA, Anne Graham, said that 2015 was a very busy year for public transport operators and said the Luas was a key focus this year.
“These are strong growth figures for the sector, and the operators and their staff should be proud of their achievements. The Luas cross-city project will be a major focus for us in this current year, managing major construction works through the heart of Dublin while keeping the city open for business,” she said.
The Dublin Chamber chief executive, Gina Quin, said the sharp rise in journeys was further proof that the next government must prioritise investment in public transport to compensate for the significant under-investment in recent years.
“Our transport system is considerably behind where it needs to be.
The increase in public transport usage is predominantly the result of a fast-growing workforce.
“With the economy growing at a considerable pace, the Government must show ambition to ensure that public transport infrastructure is capable of meeting the requirements of the further growth opportunities that will come Ireland’s way,” she said.
Ms Quin said the public transport offering must be of a high standard if the Government was serious about making people switch from private cars to public transport.