For Oral Answer on : 03/03/2022
Question Number(s): 18 Question Reference(s): 12081/22
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Transport the expected timeline for the 20% reduction in the cost of public transport fares as part of the measures to help reduce the cost of living; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government is strongly committed to helping combat the rising cost-of-living being experienced throughout the country. As such, as part of a suite of new measures is being introduced, I was delighted to be able to bring forward a proposal to reduce fares on PSO public transport services by an average of 20% until the end of 2022. These discounted fares will benefit the hundreds of thousands of people across the country who use public transport every day.
€54m in Exchequer funding has been secured to allow for the introduction of these discounted fares, this is in addition to the €538m that has already been allocated to PSO and Local Link services this year.
My Department is working closely with the NTA and the various PSO public transport operators to commence rolling out these fare reductions across the public transport network by late April and early May.
As the Deputy will appreciate, time is needed to make and test the necessary changes to the wide array of ticketing systems employed across the network, including, the Leap card, on-board ticketing equipment, vending machines and online web platforms. Updates are needed across all the PSO operators, at the different stations and depots, as well as on thousands of individual vehicles, to ensure the discounts are applied across the board.
In addition to the average 20% fare reduction, and in recognition of the importance of incentivising young people to use public transport, I secured funding to provide for the introduction of a young adult card. This card will allow any person who is between 19 and 23 years old, to avail of an average 50% discount fares across all services, including city, intercity and rural services. It is envisaged that this discount will initially be made available on PSO services at the same time as the average 20% fare discount (April/May) – providing significant travel savings for this age cohort. It is my intention to broaden the eligibility of the Young Adult Card to include commercial operators at a later date. The NTA are currently assessing deployment options in this regard.
Furthermore, I anticipate that the average 20% PSO fare reduction will also apply to eligible annual Taxsaver tickets – again from April/May time.
Collectively, these fare reduction initiatives, should help promote greater modal shift and encourage a reduced reliance on private transport with associated benefit of transport emission savings.
In conclusion, the introduction of a 20% average fare discount and the Young Adult Cards in late April/early May, means that 2022 looks set to be an exciting year for public transport provision across the country, as we slowly return to pre-pandemic travel patterns.