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Another rise on way for buses and trains

BUS and rail fares are in line to be hiked again -- despite evidence that previous increases have reduced passenger numbers.

Details published today show that commuters can expect a rise of as much as 6pc across CIE services.

It comes after Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said he could not rule out fare increases.

Ministers this week approved an increase of the CIE subvention by €36m to tide the semi-state over until the end of the year.



Passengers

Only months ago, rail prices jumped by up to 13pc but there was also a big drop in passenger numbers, leading to limited financial gains for the transport body.

Reports today reveal CIE has now applied to the National Transport Authority (NTA) for a 6pc increase for Iarnrod Eireann, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann services.

Mr Varadkar said it was necessary to be very sensitive about managing ticket price rises. He added that fares had already gone up this year and there were further hikes planned for 2013 and 2014.

Mr Varadkar said there was some evidence higher fares led to a reduction in the number of people travelling.

He said the monopoly contracts for Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus were up for renewal in 2015 and the Government was considering opening some routes to the private sector.

A huge drop in passenger numbers is one of the main reasons for CIE needing the emergency subvention.

Commuters were hit by fare hikes at the start of the year.

The NTA gave the green light for Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann, Bus Eireann and Luas to apply the increases from last January.

It followed a reduction in the Government's public transport subsidy.

"All transport operators suffered deficits in 2011 and will incur deficits in 2012," the NTA said at the time.

comurphy@herald.ie