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Leah Farrell

Children under five can travel for free on public transport from today

The number of ‘city zone fares’ has also been increased.

CHILDREN AGED FIVE or under can travel for free on public transport from this morning.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) announced that all these children get to travel free on all transport including Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas, Dart and Dublin Bus.

The NTA said it recognised the cost of transport for young families and found a way to address the problem.

The authority’s CEO, Anne Graham, said: “Today’s development will be good news for families, particularly around this time of year as people get geared up for going into town to do Christmas shopping and to see Santa Claus.

“NTA has been taking steps to reduce the cost to families of using public transport since 2014. This is something that we will continue to work on in the years ahead.”

However, it’s not all good news as a raft of fare increases are due to take effect today.

On Dublin Bus, there is no change to fares for shorter journeys or for longer journeys. But fares for mid-range journeys are to increase by around 5%..

Luas and Irish Rail fares follow this trend. The short and long journeys remain untouched but the midrange are to increase by up to 5%. However, the Social Democrats are not happy about this rise.

The party’s co-leader Catherine Murphy said she can see no justification for the increases in train fares and some commuter bus fares, especially as some of these are above the rate of inflation.

“For example, the Dublin Bus increases mean that a significant number of people who live within the M50 and commute to work every day will see their fares rise above the inflation rate.

“The cost of living is already very high, and people renting in Dublin spend 55% of their take home pay on rent. Any transport fare hikes at all will just increase the financial burden on these people who are already forced to forgo basics to keep a roof over their heads.”

The NTA also announced that, after an analysis of the fare zones the cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway, extended city fare zone will be in place. This means the number of stops which facilitate a ‘city zone fare’ will increase.

The NTA has claimed that around three million journeys a year will be at a lower rate compared to last year.

Graham added: “Take, for example, a passenger travelling in from Carrigaline into Cork city. Currently the fare for an adult passenger taking this trip is €3.52 leap or €4.40 cash. With the changes to the city fare zone from 1 December 2017 this passenger will pay €1.89 leap or €2.70 cash, which represents a saving of 46%.

Read: Cash, cars, imitation firearm and high value watches seized in Garda raids targeting ‘ghost brokers’ >

Read: Gardaí tell people to ‘gift a lift’ this Christmas as drink driving arrests increase >

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