herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Smart card will push up commuter fares

THE cost of public transport fares is set to rise to encourage commuters to move to a new 'smart card' system.

Bus and rail users will face a 10pc price increase, which is hoped to get travellers to switch to a new integrated ticketing system (ITS).

The price is set to jump by the middle of next year when the new 'smart card' system is introduced throughout the greater Dublin area.

The system is common in a number of other capital cities, allowing users to travel on bus, rail and tram systems without buying a new ticket for each journey. Users pre-pay for the service and wave their card at a magnetic reader at the station before departing and once again when arriving at their stop. The fare is then calculated by a computer system.

Dublin Bus fares currently range from €1.15 to €2.30, with DART fares running from €1.40 to €4.

Director of the project, Tim Gaston, confirmed that there would be "differential" fares.

"A deposit will be taken when the card is first purchased. That will be modest enough, a few euro," he said.

"If there's value on the card you'll be able to take a journey.

"If you've got €1 on the card and you take a journey of €4, the card goes into negative €3. When you top up, the money is subtracted. Schemes all over the world have some kind of incentive. When they're everywhere and you can use them then there should be a differential in the cash fare," he added.

And an insider revealed that fares are likely to rise rather than offering a discount on the 'smart card' prices.

cmcbride@herald.ie

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