Minister targets 2006 for integrated Luas, DART and Dublin Bus ticket
The Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen T.D., today (Monday, 21st March 2005) launched the Luas smartcard. Speaking at the launch, Minister Cullen stated his objective was to see the roll out of a single ticket for all public transport services, starting as early as next year.
Similar to 'pay-as-you-go' mobile phones, the new credit card size Luas smartcard can be 'topped-up' and so can help reduce queues at the ticket validating machines. Each smartcard has a built-in reserve fund which the passenger can 'dip into' should they not have enough funds on their card.
Minister Cullen said: "We need to design policies that encourage people to make public transport their transport mode of choice. If public transport is easy to use, convenient and reliable, people will leave the car at home. Having the option of using a common ticket for the train, bus and Luas makes travelling to your destination that bit easier. To this end, I will be bringing together management teams from Luas, Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and private operators to make integrated ticketing a reality."
Minister Cullen said that with goodwill and commitment on all sides, we could expect to see by next year, one commonly-branded smartcard for use on DART, Dublin Bus and Luas services. He said that this could extend to other services on a phased basis after that.
The new Luas smartcard is the second phase of the integrated ticketing scheme currently under development by the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), in line with the commitment in the Agreed Programme for Government. The first phase was the successful "proof of concept" initiative on Morton's Coaches. Close to 30% of all journeys on Morton's services are now on smartcards.
Commenting on the launch, the Minister said: "The introduction of the smartcard on Luas is yet another step in improving the attractiveness and convenience of public transport. In the short few months since its introduction, LUAS has been a phenomenal success. It has changed the perception of public transport and has attracted people who never or rarely used public transport previously. Smartcard ticketing will further strengthen its appeal.
"The launch of the Luas smartcard is a significant step on the way towards a fully integrated ticketing system. It will allow us to have a full scale test of smartcards on Dublin public transport as we roll out the fully integrated ticketing system on a phased basis, beginning early next year", he concluded.
Dan Pender, Press Advisor 01 - 6041090 or 087 - 2313415
Veronica Scanlan, Press Officer 01 - 6041087 or 087 - 6430622