Public transport carried 16 million more passengers in 2017

Bus Éireann was the only transport company to see a fall in numbers

Public transport carried 16 million more passengers in 2017

Photo: Sam Boal/

The National Transport Authority (NTA) says public transport saw an increase in funding and an increase in total passenger numbers last year.

Its 'Bus & Rail Statistics' report says State funding for Public Service Obligation (PSO) services increased by 12% last year compared to 2016 from €249m to €278m.

Passenger revenues also grew nationally - increasing by 5.1% from €551m to €579m.

This means combined revenue for PSO services, between subsidy and fares, has increased by over 7% in 2017.

Since 2011, the combined revenues have increased by 22%, from €701m to €857m.

A Luas tram in Dublin | File photo

While funding under the Free Travel Scheme has remained largely static in recent years.

But the NTA says the number of journeys on the scheme has increased by over 16% since 2013.

The figures show 252 million passenger journeys were provided by Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas and LocalLink.

That is an increase of over 16 million, or 7%, compared to 2016.

Dublin Bus has seen a "very strong" performance and the company provided the largest number of passenger journeys in 2017 - at over 136 million.

This represents four straight years of passenger growth - and Dublin Bus now accounts for 54% of all PSO passenger journeys.

People board a DART train in Dublin | File photo

Iarnród Éireann saw journeys increase from 42.8 million to 45.5 million, an increase of over 6%.

While numbers on the Luas grew by 10.6% to 37.6 million.

The NTA says with the Green Line now extended to Broombridge, and providing interchange services, those numbers are likely to grow "substantially" in 2018.

And Bus Éireann figures for 2017 are 31.2 million - representing a drop on 32.1 million last year.

But the NTA says that us "mainly" as a result of industrial action, which lasted three weeks.