Cork has seen significant growth in the number of people using public transport since 2013, according to figures released by the National Transport Authority.
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority said: “The pick-up in passenger numbers in Cork on both bus and train services is very encouraging.
“Overall growth in the Cork area has been very strong at 20.3% with Iarnród Éireann Cork commuter services growing by 29% over the past four years.
“During the recession, Bus Éireann passenger journeys in the regional cities suffered a similar drop to Dublin Bus although the decline in passenger journeys slowed in 2011 and stabilised in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 a reasonably significant increase of 3.7% was seen. Growth in 2015 and 2016 combined was just over 8%.”
Last year, 12.6 million journeys were taken on Bus Éireann in Cork city. The Cork city network accounts for almost 40% of Bus Éireann subsidised passenger journeys.
Outside the Dublin region, the strongest growth in Bus Éireann passenger revenues over the past three years is in Cork city, with growth of over 40%.
There were 1.2 million journeys on the Iarnród Éireann Cork commuter service in 2016. The service showed the strongest growth in passenger numbers of all the sectors between 2013 and 2016.
The rises in Cork echo a nationwide trend that has seen the number of journeys on subsidised public transport and commercial bus services increase by almost 31 million in the last four years.
In 2013, there were 210 million passengers nationwide on subsidised services, while in 2016 that number went up to 236 million.
Ms Graham used the publication of the statistics as an opportunity to highlight the need for ‘significant investment’ in public transport.
“The figures we are publishing today are an indication that there is a clear demand for an efficient and reliable public transport service,” she said. “Particularly so when the public transport alternative is environmentally friendly and offers value for money.
“It is also remarkable that we have been able to accommodate this increase in passenger numbers with virtually no increase in operating capacity.
"Transport operators have managed to sweat their fleet assets to the greatest possible extent to provide services for the greatest possible number of people.
“But there’s only so much that can be done within the current constraints and we are now at the point where we need significant investment to address the burgeoning problem of congestion.”