Drivers quitting cars for public transport
BOOST: 170m journeys by Luas, bus and DART last year
COMMUTERS are turning away from their cars and back to public transport, new figures have revealed.
Despite the recession and fewer people working in the city, more than 170 million passenger journeys took place on the Luas, Dublin Bus and Dart last year.
Luas recorded a bumper year with an estimated 29.2m passenger journeys on both lines - the highest figure to date.
This figure is a massive jump on last year's 27.8m total.
The light transport system numbers have been rising steadily since it was first opened in 2005.
However, it recorded a fall in 2009 from 27.4m to 25.4m as the recession took hold.
But there is certainly a bounce back in passenger numbers which are split evenly between the two lines.
Dublin Bus's figures dropped off within the year and representatives said that numbers were down 2.3pc. A total of 116m passengers used Dublin Bus facilities within 2011.
And passenger numbers on DART and commuter services into Dublin stabilised this year following reductions in recent years, Iarnrod Eireann confirmed.
"The total is forecast to be just over 28m passenger journeys on these routes for 2011," a representative told the Herald. "While this is down slightly on the 28.5m figure for 2010, we did receive an unusual boost in passenger numbers in December 2010 as a result of the snow, so are happy that overall demand has stabilised or even marginally increased."
These figures cover the DART, and the Drogheda, Maynooth, M3, Kildare and Wicklow commuter routes.
The figures for passengers on public transport in Dublin will be boosted by the introduction of the Leap Card.
Card users can activate their card on automatic machines when using DART, rail and Luas services, but the card needs to be presented to bus drivers.
The card will soon be available in over 400 shops where the 'payzone' symbol is displayed. It offers fares that are up to 17pc cheaper than single tickets on Luas services and up to 19pc on DART and commuter rail fares.