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Far hikes for commuters 'less frequent', promises minister


 Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe

TRANSPORT Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that fare hikes on public transport will become less frequent in the future.

Mr Donohoe said that he hopes the amount of State money provided to subsidise public transport increases by 2016.

Speaking in the Dail yesterday, the minister admitted that increases were difficult for "hard-pressed commuters". His comments followed recent fare hikes on bus, rail and Luas routes.

"I am also aware how they may lead to some people questioning the value of public transport vis-a-vis the cost of running a car," he said.

Following the increases announced last month, the Herald revealed how prices for some passengers paying with cash have soared by 63pc since 2011 - despite flat inflation over the period.

But Mr Donohoe has said that he expects that such increases will become less prevalent in the coming years.

"The cost of public transport is one of the reasons I was very keen to ensure that we stop cutting the level of public subvention to the CIE companies - after years of cuts, the investment in 2015 will be the same as that for 2014 - and why, I hope, we will start to see that level of subvention start to grow again from 2016," he said.

"Coupled with increased passenger numbers in the future, I fully expect to see such fare increases become a far less frequent occurrence in the years that lie ahead," he added.

The fare hikes were defended by the NTA on the basis that people who used Leap Cards were benefiting from savings.

This month such prepaid travel users on Dublin Bus received a €1 discount on a second trip taken within 90 minutes of the original journey.

The NTA said it also plans to include other transport operators on the so-called Leap 90 Discount from next year.