Call for more investment as numbers of bus, rail and Luas passengers rise
Bus, rail and Luas services have all seen an increase in passenger numbers as more people go back to work - prompting a call for more spending on the services to compete with top cities.
New figures from the National Transport Authority (NRA) showed that Luas saw the biggest growth, up 6pc to nearly 35 million passengers last year.
Dublin Bus, which carries over half of all public transport passengers in Ireland, saw its figures grow by nearly 3pc, with 119.5 million passengers.
Irish Rail passengers were up 5pc to nearly 40 million, while Bus Eireann also saw growth with an increase of nearly 2pc, to over 30 million passengers.
Meanwhile, giving its reaction to the upsurge in passenger numbers, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said that the sharp rise in public transport journeys was further proof of why the next government must prioritise increasing investment in public transport.
The body said the figures showed that there were an additional 7.7 million journeys made on public transport in 2015 compared to 2014.
CEO Gina Quin said that 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," she said.
"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.
"As it stands, we are not spending enough.
"Currently we're spending €150m per annum, but we need to triple that investment to bring our per-capita spend into line with cities like Manchester and London - cities we are competing with for foreign direct investment and jobs," she said.
Dublin Bus, which said it will acquire 110 new buses this year, said that passengers travelling on its public service obligation routes have increased 119.5 million.
But this figure rises further to 122 million when its commercial services are included, Dublin Bus said.
Meanwhile, Anne Graham, CEO of the NRA, said that the coming year would see the Luas Cross City project being a major focus for the body, managing major construction works through the heart of Dublin, while keeping the city open for business.
"We will be progressing our open-market tendering for 10pc of the Dublin and national bus routes, opening the Phoenix Park tunnel to passenger trains to bring new routes to people travelling into Dublin from Kildare, and we will be closely examining and improving bus and rail services, and bringing new bus fleet vehicles throughout Ireland," she said.