BUS prices on the majority of Limerick’s city services will rise from next month, it has been confirmed.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has published a series of fare recommendations – and these will bring a 10c rise in a single ticket on Limerick’s Bus Eireann provided services.
The flat single fare which is used in Limerick will go up from €2 to €2.10 from December 1, while an all-day ticket will rise from €4.20 to €4.40.
However, there is some relief for city commuters, as those who have a Leap pre-paid card will see the price of a single ticket remain at €1.60.
Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan, who chairs the transport committee said: “It’s very expensive. If you look at the cost of local journeys across Europe, they are much much cheaper. It is probably the reason people here do not use public transport as much as they should.”
Bus Eireann operates using a flat fare structure on its local bus services here, meaning that no matter how long the journey you take, it will cost €2.10.
”It is a lot of money for a short journey,” Cllr Quinlivan added.
Cllr Daniel Butler, Fine Gael, who also sits on the transport committee says this price rise will most likely force more people into their cars.
“The way the market is at the moment is very price sensitive. The difference between taking a car and a bus can be so minimal, there is no incentive to take public transport. Increasing prices will not help that,” he said.
Cllr Butler also agreed Ireland is not in line with its European counterparts whose public transport is far cheaper.
He also said another major turnoff to customers is the length of time a route can take, and the fact there are no express services into the city centre.
“Some routes have been increased in length. They are going in all sorts of directions before they get to their desired destination,” he added.
There are two bus services in Limerick which operate separately to Bus Eireann – one to the university and the other to Annacotty via the university.
It is unclear if these fares – which are already cheaper than the state bus firm – will see a rise. These service is operated by Eurobus Limerick.
Meanwhile, Bus Eireann has announced with immediate effect that all school bus services will be cancelled when Met Eireann issues a status red weather alert.
Red warnings are issued quite rarely, and suggests that those people living in an area should take action to protect themselves or their properties, including by potentially staying indoors.
While schools in rural County Limerick are more likely to close in extreme weather, it is not unknown for city schools to remain open.
The news will come as a blow to parents who rely on school bus services due to work or other commitments.
But the national bus provider has revealed that if a status red weather warning is issued, it will issue a blanket ban on school bus travel.
The firm made the decision following discussions with the Department of Education.
If weather conditions do recede in the day time, Bus Eireann’s policy is to restore school bus services at school closing time, if routes were cut in the morning.