Number of journeys on Mallow-Cork railway doubles since Leap card introduced

Number of journeys on Mallow-Cork railway doubles since Leap card introduced

Mallow Train Station. The move to Leap fares helped slash the cost of travel to Cork for commuters, and this has led to increased numbers using the service.

The number of rail journeys on the Mallow-Cork rail line has nearly doubled since the introduction of Leap Card fares on the route in May.

The move to Leap fares helped slash the cost of the journey for commuters, and this has led to increased numbers using the service.

Adult fares now cost €3.90 one way when using the Leap Card from Mallow to Cork Kent, and €1.95 for young adults.

Previously, single tickets on the route cost as much as €9-€10 for the half-hour journey. This contrasted with prices as low as €2 for similar journeys on the Dart in Dublin. The Leap card can already be used on Cork city bus services, as well as rail services on the Cork-Cobh and Cork-Midleton lines.

When the measure was brought in in May, the National Transport Authority called it a “significant change in the Cork commuter area … which will benefit passengers significantly in the Cork region”.

Between May 9 and  September 2, 2022, there were 77,343 passenger journeys taken on the Cork-Mallow train line across all channels, including Leap, booking office, ticket vending machines, and online.

This contrasted with 44,943 journeys in the same period in 2021, albeit at a time when Covid-19 restrictions were still in place.

The NTA had previously been unable to commit to the inclusion of Mallow in the Leap fare zone for the Cork area, citing “the likely revenue implications of such a measure”.

However, CEO Anne Graham changed tack late last year and said that despite the challenging situation brought about by the pandemic the NTA was committed to introducing the fares when the subvention funding had been made available to cover the loss in revenue from bringing it in.

Expansion

Labour TD for Cork East Sean Sherlock had long called for the introduction of the fares, and received these latest statistics via a  parliamentary question. He also said that more work must now take place to further expand rail access in north Cork.

“The doubling of passengers on the Mallow-Cork line is testament to how successful the introduction of Leap Card fares has been,” he said.

“It shows what can happen when the correct fare structure is in place. The next step must be to examine the feasibility of reopening Buttevant. This would be a bold and radical step.” 

Irish Rail has previously said it will lend its support in principle to calls from Cork County Council for State funding to open railway stations to serve three areas in north Cork.

As well as re-opening Buttevant, the council also wants new stations opened on the Cork-Limerick line at Mourneabbey and Rathduff.

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