THERE WERE nearly one million fewer passenger journeys completed on the Luas trams in Dublin in 2008 compared to the previous year.
According to the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), there were 27.4 million passenger journeys completed in 2008 compared to 28.4 million in 2007.
The Green Luas line to Dundrum and Sandyford has remained steady with more than 12 million annual journeys served, but the Red Line out to Tallaght has seen a significant decrease in numbers, although it still completed 15 million journeys this year.
In spite of the current economic downturn, the agency has insisted the light rail system was performing well.
“The fast, reliable and comfortable service which the Luas has provided over the last five years has produced a loyal and consistent customer base which has become more discerning in getting the best value for money from the range of ticket options which are available,” said RPA chief executive Frank Allen.
There has been a 50 per cent growth in the proportion of journeys made by those taking advantage of the tax benefits of using monthly and annual tickets.
There has also been an increase in customers using Iarnróid Éireann/Luas integrated tickets, which are up by 15 per cent.
The majority of Luas users have switched from single cash transactions at the vending machines to period passes and off-system sales outlets.
There was also an increase of 28 per cent of those using the Luas Smartcard.
Mr Allen said that the performance was encouraging in very difficult economic circumstances where levels of economic activity had contracted significantly.
He also added that the new lines which are under construction in Docklands and out to Cherrywood in South County Dublin will bring the Luas experience to other communities in the coming years.
In spite of the decrease in numbers from 2008, the single-journey fares on both Red and Green lines will rise by 10 cent and return fares will go up by 20 cent. The increases will come into effect on Monday, January 5th.