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Public Transport Services

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Bus stop the closest public transport option

The analysis in this chapter examines the services offered by Irish Rail, Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus, Luas and the city bike stations and excludes services offered by commercial bus operators.

For 4.4 million people, (93% of the population), the bus stop was the nearest public transport option.

A train station was the closest public transport option for 253,462 people (5.3%), while a Luas station was the nearest public stop for 30,871 people (0.6%).

A city bike station, in either Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway, was the closest public transport option for 55,957 people, representing 1.2% of the State total.

Table 2.1 Nearest public transport option for the population

Distance to nearest public transport stop by service frequency

The relationship between the frequency of services of each public transport stop (Luas, Train and Bus) and the population are explored in Table 2.2 and Figure 2.1.

The nearest public transport stop had a minimum of 50 services on a normal weekday for 1.4 million people, (30% of the population), and 925,930 of these people were within 500 metres.

In contrast, the nearest public transport stop for 938,421 people (20% of the population) had less than five services a day, and just over half of these (471,740) lived a distance of at least 2km away.

Table 2.2 Population by distance to nearest public transport stop (Luas, Train, Bus,) by frequency of service of nearest stop

Less than 500 metres500m - < 1km1- < 2km2- < 5km5km or more
Less than five services per day142712144092179877254728217012
5- < 10 services per day120839106732101932142022124346
11- < 25 services per day258768187240180406154602203144
25- < 50 services per day3456781836671228768932490401
50 or more services per day9259303090641072103892930334

In 2016 there were 593,411 people aged 66 or over, therefore meeting the age eligibility criteria for the Free Travel Scheme, and Table 2.2a shows that 230,302 (39%) lived within 500 metres of their nearest public transport stop. There were 153,398 people who were serviced by at least 25 daily departures at their closest stop, representing approximately one-quarter of all persons aged 66 or over.

However, there were 211,576 people who qualified for the Free Travel Scheme on age grounds in 2016 where the closest public transport stop had less than ten daily departures, of which 104,642 lived a distance of 2km or more (Table 2.2a).

Table 2.2a Population aged 66 or over in 2016 by distance to nearest public transport stop (Luas, Train, Bus,) by frequency of service of nearest stop

Map 2.1 shows the county breakdown of the population where the nearest public transport stop had low frequency daily services (i.e. less than ten daily departures) during the working week. 

Dublin City (0.6%) had the lowest percentage of the population living closest to a transport option with less than ten departures each day. In contrast, at least three-quarters of the population in three counties lived in closest proximity to a low frequency public transport service -  Leitrim (95%), Longford (80%), and Wexford (75%).

Dublin City was the area best served with high frequency public transport, with the closest stop having over 50 departures a day for 84% of the population. Cork City (64%), South Dublin (64%) and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (57%) were the next highest in this category (Table 2.3). 

Table 2.3: Population by frequency of services offered by nearest public transport stop, by county, NUTS 3 Region and State

There were 489,656 people living in households with no car or van ownership and almost half of these (234,418) lived less than 500 metres from a public transport stop offering a minimum of 25 services on a normal weekday.

In contrast, there were 44,841 persons (9%) in households with no car or van ownership that were more than 2km from public transport options, of which 14,741 had less than five daily services at their nearest stop (Table 2.4).

Table 2.4 Population in households with no car or van ownership in 2016, by frequency of service of nearest stop

Train commuters living on average 2.3km from their nearest station

There were 63,133 people who commuted to work by rail (Train, Luas or DART) in 2016, and Table 2.5 shows that the national average distance for these commuters to the closest train station was 2.3km.

The average distance to a train station for the 17,160 rail commuters living in Dublin City was 800 metres. For the 15,794 rail commuters living in counties outside Dublin, the average distance was 5.2km, with 57% (9,064) living 2km or more from the nearest railway stop.

A total of 26,224 people who travelled by train to work in 2016 lived less than 1km to their nearest rail station, representing 42% of all rail commuters. This percentage increased to 72% (or 12,326 persons) for train and tram commuters residing in Dublin City (Figure 2.2).

Table 2.5 Population whose means of travel in 2016 was Train, Dart or Luas, by distance to nearest train or Luas station

5km or more2- <5km1- <2km500m - < 1kmLess than 500 metres
Dublin City101198362661396187
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown172322480344802472
South Dublin10311121091811735
Remaining counties4227483742641798668

One in twelve people within 2km of Luas station

Over 400,000 people lived within 2km of a Luas station, with the Red Line accounting for 187,926 of these, while the Green Line was within 2km proximity for 146,519 people.

The opening of the Luas Cross City Line in 2017 brought an extra 74,263 residents within 2km of the tram network, and 22,423 were less than 500 metres to their nearest stop (Table 2.6 and Figure 2.3).

Table 2.6 Population within 2km of their nearest Luas station

Total Population within 2km
Luas Cross City Line74263
Luas Green Line146519
Luas Red Line187926

Distance to the national road network

More than 1.65 million people lived within 2km of the primary or secondary road network, (35% of the total population), and 824,683 lived less than 1km from a main road (see Table 2.7 & Table 2.7a).

About 30% of the population lived 5km or more from the national road network, and Map 2.1 shows the breakdown by county. Over half of the population in three counties lived more than 5km from a primary or secondary road: Leitrim (64%), Waterford (62%) and Offaly (51%).

Just under 69,000 people, (1.4% of the population), lived 20km or more from the national road network, with almost one third of these people living in Donegal.

Table 2.7 Distance of population to the national primary and secondary road network, by county, NUTS 3 Region and State

Table 2.7a Percentage of population by distance to the national primary and secondary road network, by county, NUTS 3 Region and State

The M50 was the nearest national road for over 750,000 people, one in six of the national population, at an average distance of 3.9km. The M1 motorway had the next largest population catchment of 258,876 people, (see Table 2.8 and Figure 2.4).

Table 2.8 Distance of population and average distance to the nearest primary and secondary road, by road name

Total Population