Irish Rail Sees Increase In Passenger numbers
Published on Jul 9 2014 2:29 PM in General Industry
Irish Rail saw an increase of passenger numbers with 18.3 million journeys made in the first six months of this year compared to 17.8 million journeys in the same period last year. These half a million extra passengers equate to an increase of 2.7 per cent.
Passenger numbers fell during the recession and stabilised in 2013, before increasing this year.
Irish Rail believes that many factors played a role in this growth. There's no doubt that economic recovery helped, as there has been a growth in employment and therefore a growth in commuters, together with more business travel. There has been an increase in discretionary travel as people have more disposable income. Irish Rail also ran a very successful online sales promotion of €9.99 fares on Intercity routes in January and in April-May and the increases continued after the promotional period.
Furthermore, they said that they received additional business from major events, such as the three nights One Direction played in Croke Park and the Irish Golf Open in Fota. Irish Rail were due to benefit substantially from the proposed five nights of Garth Brooks concerts in Croke Park at the end of the month, which are now not going ahead. Irish Rail have confirmed that they will refund all passengers who have pre-booked rail travel to attend the concerts. This is a blow for the company, but may be somewhat softened by their excellent results for the first half of the year.
Intercity services have seen the largest growth of 5 per cent, while the growth in numbers using the DART has been the most modest at 0.8 per cent.
More people are taking up the Tax Saver Incentive Scheme, while the Leap Card integration and the installation of Wi-Fi on all services has also enticed more people to use the train.
However, the company is still experiencing some financial difficulties and is exploring cutbacks and reductions on unprofitable routes, proposals which are not popular with the unions.