Public transport in Ireland
Public transport in Ireland exists in many of the island's urban areas, and takes a number of forms. Bus transport is the main form of public transport common in all cities. The cities, Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick and Galway all have their own suburban rail networks. Ireland has a population of over 6.4 million people.
Transport for Ireland is a public information body set up by the National Transport Authority as a single point of reference for all public transport in Ireland, along the lines of Transport for London.
Provision by area
The Greater Dublin area has a population of 1.7m and there are a number of modes of public transport in the GDA run by a number of transport operators, most of them state or quasi-state entities. Public transport in Dublin is overseen by the Dublin Transportation Office. It has undergone expansion in recent years, and the Irish Government plans to invest heavily in the system under the Transport 21 plan which means that approximately 20 billion euro will be spent on developing Greater Dublin's transport infrastructure. Dublin's transit system utilises electrified suburban trains, diesel commuter rail, trams and an extensive bus network to provide service to the population of the Greater Dublin Area.
Buses are the most widely used form of public transport in Dublin. They are operated by Dublin Bus. The bus network consists of 200 bus routes covering the Dublin Region. The Bus Arrival Information Service is being rolled out across Dublin, and provides real time estimates of bus arrivals at each stop, based on GPS locations of buses.
Dublin also has a commuter rail system, one of five suburban rail networks on the island. The system uses diesel-powered trains and an electrified line. There are four main lines, designated Northern Commuter, Western Commuter, South Eastern Commuter, and South Western Commuter. The trains are operated by Iarnród Éireann.
The Dublin suburban network also consists of an electrified line Dublin Area Rapid Transit that serves the Dublin bay commuter belt.
- Northern Commuter – Dublin Pearse to Dundalk.
- South Eastern Commuter – Dublin Connolly to Wicklow.
- South Western Commuter – Dublin Heuston to Kildare.
- Western Commuter – Dublin Pearse / Docklands to Longford.
- Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) – Greystones to Howth/Malahide.
There is also a tram network called LUAS consisting of two lines;
As of 2006, the Dublin Metro is a planned two-line rapid transit (underground) system set out in the Irish government's 2005 Transport 21 plan to spend 20 billion euro on infrastructure in the Greater Dublin area up until 2021. The estimated cost of the 17km Metro North is approximately 5 billion euro and will be the biggest and most expensive infrastructural project ever undertaken on the island of Ireland.
The Greater Belfast area has a population of 800,000 and its public transport system is based principally around the rail and bus networks.
Buses operate to all parts of the Greater Belfast area. Metro (Belfast) also provides services to outlying towns such as Lisburn, Bangor and Newtownabbey. There are around 100 bus routes in total using 12 Quality Bus Corridors.
Bus and rail public transport in Northern Ireland is operated by subsidiaries of Translink.
Northern Ireland Railways provides suburban services along three lines running through Belfast's northern suburbs to Carrickfergus and Larne, eastwards towards Bangor and south-westwards towards Lisburn and Portadown. This service is known as the Belfast Suburban Rail system.
Northern Ireland Railways is the sole public railway operator in Northern Ireland. The network serving Greater Belfast is known as Belfast Suburban Rail and is owned by Translink. These provide rail services along three major routes:
- Belfast-Larne railway line runs through Belfast's northern suburbs to Carrickfergus and Larne
- Belfast-Bangor railway line runs eastwards towards Bangor
- Belfast-Newry railway line and south-westwards through Lisburn and Portadown to Newry
The Greater Cork area has a population of 400,000 and is covered mainly by bus and suburban rail networks as well as a commuter ferry.
By 2010, there will be 3 suburban train lines in the Cork Suburban Rail service.
- Cork Kent – Blarney ED (15,000) – Mallow (11,000)
- Cork Kent – Glanmire (16,000) – Cobh (12,000)
- Cork Kent – Glanmire (16,000) – Midleton (11,000)
The Limerick urban area has a population of 140,000 and is covered mainly by bus and suburban rail networks.
Commuter rail services are also important and there are three train lines in the Limerick Suburban Rail network.
- Limerick railway station – Ennis (25,000)
- Limerick railway station – Nenagh (9,000)
- Limerick railway station – Tipperary (5,000)
The Derry City area has a population of 110,000, with a greater hinterland of 350,000 is served by both rail and bus services provided by public transport company Translink. There are 15 bus routes servicing parts of the city. The routes cover all parts of the city except for the Culmore area. This is serviced by Lough Swilly bus fleet who have the monopoly on the route due to licensing rights with the DVLNI. For the various surrounding towns and villages around the city, there are Ulsterbus services travelling into the city centre.
The city is serviced by Londonderry Train Station which serves Belfast, Coleraine, and Portrush bound passengers. Although the line is of sub-standard in comparison with the rest of the network, plans are in operation to improve it slightly, with the introduction of passing loops and relaying the track.
The city of Galway has a population of 70,000 and there are two companies providing bus services throughout the city – Bus Éireann and Galway City Direct. There are 16 bus routes serving the city and its suburbs altogether – Bus Éireann operates 11 routes, while Galway City Direct runs 5 routes.
GalwayTransport.info was set up in 2009 to provide information about public transport services currently operating in Galway city and the surrounding area. It includes a summary map of all city bus service routes, a detailed map and timetable link for each route, as well as specific instructions about getting to popular places (work and recreation) using public transport.
The table below lists cities in Ireland that have public transport systems. It includes only internal services (as opposed to services between towns).
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