A tendering process is underway to build a new system, with a result expected within the next two months, a number of rural services are also currently testing bank card payments.
However, the use of bank cards and digital wallets – such as Apple Pay and Google Pay – is unlikely to be widely available until next year or the year after.
National Transport Authority CEO Anne Graham says they know this is something people have been looking for. “We are planning to do the next generation of ticketing, which is using smartphones and bank cards to pay for services,” she said. “It’ll be the next generation of Leap [Card]. “We’re procuring a system now that will allow for [contactless] payments.
“We hope to award a tender now in two months’ time and start building that system to enable people to use bank cards.”
Ms Graham said some services are already testing out the new system. “We do have some bank card payment testing on some of our Local Link services in rural Ireland,” she said. “So, actually we might start our payments in rural Ireland ahead of even the cities.” Ms Graham said it will likely be into 2025 or 2026 before the system is in place. “This is a significant IT project so it will take a number of months,” she said. “It’s going to be into 2025, 2026 before we see it replacing Leap Card. “What we’re trying to do is make sure that we replicate the system, which is very integrated system in Dublin, and replicate the TFI 90 fare,” she added.
People made around 308 million journeys on Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas and other local services in 2023. The figure is 24% higher than it was in 2022 and 5% higher than in 2019 – which previously held the record. Nearly half of all public transport journeys were taken on Dublin Bus, with 145 million passenger journeys recorded last year – up 20% on the figures for 2022. Around 45.5 million passenger journeys were made by rail and a further 48.2 million trips were made on the Luas.