Bus Eireann city services including in Cork saw major growth in passenger numbers in 2018, the National Transport Authority has revealed.
With a jump of 12.9% across Ireland, Bus Éireann has posted the single biggest percentage increase of any of the operators.
The company provided 35.1m passenger journeys in 2018 compared to 31.1m in 2017 and 32.1m in 2016.
Numbers on Bus Éireann’s city services in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford did particularly well, increasing by 13.2% overall.
Nineteen million more passengers used public transport in 2018 and two hundred and sixty-nine million passenger journeys were provided by Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas and Go-Ahead Ireland on ‘Transport For Ireland’ Public Service Obligation (PSO) services in 2018, an increase of almost 19 million, or 7.5% compared to 2017.
Irish Rail also saw numbers on both Dart and commuter services increase by more than four per cent.
Intercity services recorded an increase in passenger journeys from 11.4m in 2017 to 12.4m last year, a jump of 8.4%.
“These numbers are very positive and are a testament to the range and quality of services provided by our public transport operators,” said Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority.
“It is clear that when there is a reliable, high quality, value-for-money public transport offering that customers will respond positively to it.
“But none of us can rest on our laurels, and the priority now must be to deliver on those improvements in our public transport infrastructure that are provided for under the National Development Plan announced last year,” she added.
“In the shorter term, we will purchase more bus vehicles for use around the country this year, and will be moving to purchase low-emission vehicles from July.
“We are also looking to increase capacity on our rail service by acquiring additional fleet that will be introduced in the coming years.” Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said that while there are “undoubtedly pinch points and areas of congestion in the system, there is no doubt that by and large, our public transport is very good”.
“These figures are evidence that customers are voting with their feet and using the services more and more, year after year.
“But we need to make sure we can accommodate future growth in the years ahead,” he added.
“That is why last year we announced a €8.6 billion investment programme for public transport under Project Ireland 2040.”