Public transport prices halved for 19-23 year olds

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People aged 19 to 23 will benefit from half-price trips on public transport from the middle of next year as part of a new measure introduced in the 2022 budget.

Under this program, people in this age group will be entitled to half-price fares on intercity buses and trains, long-distance buses, local buses, Luas and Darts.

The new measure is not limited to students and will be accessible to all young adults in this age category.

The program is expected to start in mid-2022 and the expected annual cost is 25 million euros.

This decision aims to encourage greater use of public transport and thus reduce carbon emissions, as required by the government’s climate action plan.

The Department of Transportation hopes the card used will be an update to the Leap Card that includes age identification and can be downloaded to a smartphone.

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Eligible youth who obtain their photo ID will be able to continue using it in subsequent years.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said part of the reason the new program would not start until mid-2022 was partly because of the need to update technology and partly because of the current global semiconductor shortage.

He said the decisions to introduce the program were the result of suggestions made to him and Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman by representatives of the Comhairle na nÓg (Youth Council).

Commute

Recent censuses have shown that a high proportion of young people – including postgraduates – depend on the car to get to university and to work.

The 2016 census found that almost a quarter of all students traveled to university by private car. Although this is a reduction from 2011, the proportion of students using cars is still considered too high by the government.

Politically, this decision could also be a response to the measures contained in the Sinn Féin manifesto and in its alternative budget where the party proposed free travel for all under 18.

Measures to encourage young people to use public transport – including fare reductions – were also included in the manifestos of the Coalition parties.

Students can currently benefit from a 25 percent reduction on public transport fares, but this is not applied in an integrated manner.

The goal behind a simple smart card to apply the discounts is to make it easy for people in the 19-23 age group to switch from private to public transport.

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