Luas (Tram System Dublin) - Travel on Luas Tram Dublin - E

Luas (Tram System Dublin) - E

Travel on Luas Tram Dublin

Luas Tram Ticketing

Luas tickets are purple in colour and credit card sized. They bear a magnetic stripe on the back although this is not used on Luas. Uniquely among Dublin's public transport, tickets are not checked upon boarding trams, instead, a proof-of-payment system is used.

Ticket machines operate at every Luas stop and these are the only source of single-journey and return tickets. They also sell 1-day, 7-day and 30-day tickets, valid in either some or all the fare zones, for adults, children and students. Combi tickets valid on Dublin Bus and Luas are no longer on general sale, but can be purchased as commuter tickets via the "Taxsaver" scheme, as can various other combinations of bus, Luas, and Iarnród Éireann commuter train service.

Certain ticket combinations are not possible (for example a one-day student ticket), and tickets can only be valid from the stop at which they are purchased and must commence their validity within 90 minutes, valid until a specific time shown on the card. Certain tickets require the user to hold an ID card and write the number on the ticket, to prevent the ticket from being transferred to another person. Ticket machines accept card payments (by American Express, MasterCard, or Visa and have a weekly limit of €150 (upper limit changed from €50 per transaction to €150 per week in January 2012 after upgrading all POS terminals to have a PIN keypad).

Formerly €5 was the minimum amount which could be paid via card, but this limit has since been removed. Student tickets can be loaded to a Student Leap card, issued upon verification of student status. No other form of student identification is accepted on Luas.

Tickets cannot be purchased on board the trams. Passengers encountered by a ticket inspector and not in possession of a valid ticket or validated Leap card are issued a fine (referred to as a standard fare) of €100, reduced to €45 for prompt payment. Non-payment within 28 days may result in prosecution.

The lines are divided into 10 zones, five for the green line and four for the red, plus a shared central zone. Fares are calculated based on how many zones a journey is taken through, with a five-zone cap. There is a stop on the border of each zone, which is considered to be in whichever zone is more beneficial to the traveller. When the network opened, it was necessary to walk some distance or take another form of transport to connect between the two lines, but nowadays there is a short walking connection between O'Connell - GPO or Marlborough Street on the green line and Abbey Street on the red line.

Luas Tram Smartcard

In March 2005, a smartcard for Luas was launched. The smartcard was phased out following launch of the integrated Leap Card which is further detailed below. The final day of Luas Smartcard operations was on 30 September 2014. The Luas smartcard allowed travellers to pay for travel on the Luas network.

Credit was pre-loaded onto the smartcard at ticket machines by cash, debit card or credit card, with a minimum top-up of €5 and a maximum credit on the card of €100, and the customer had to validate the card using readers on the platform before boarding the tram and then again after exiting the tram. This is still referred to as 'tag-on' and 'tag-off' on the current Leap Card system.

A smartcard could be purchased at a Luas ticket agent or online. The card cost €10, which included a €3 non-refundable charge for the card, €3 of credit and €4 for a fully refundable 'reserve fund' which allowed travel even if there was insufficient credit on the card for the journey. The card had to be topped up before another journey could be taken.

Smartcard fares were slightly cheaper than standard single and return fares from ticket machines. For example, a journey within a single zone cost €1.25 with the card, compared to €1.50 (€1.60 during peak time) single with a paper ticket, or €2.80 return. Daily, 7-day and 30-day tickets generally worked out cheaper, unless used only rarely. Luas smartcards were unable to store multiple-journey tickets and these tickets were issued on paper only until May 2014, since all tickets have been loaded onto the new Leap Cards.

Until January 2012 there were three different smart-card systems in Dublin: the Luas smart-card, the Dublin Bus prepaid Smartcard system for day-cards or longer and the smart-card for commuter trains and the DART which is -as the Luas card- a per journey tag on/off card but not compatible with Luas cards.

The "Leap Card" smartcard has functionality that it caps the daily and weekly spend to ensure Leap Card holders do not pay more than they would have had they bought day, weekly, or monthly tickets. This functionality had been enabled on Luas and DART services. As of 2017, the National Transport Authority reported the number of Leap Card users was 2.5 million.

Luas Tram Free Travel

All persons in Ireland are entitled to be issued with a Public Services Card for accessing key public services and for identity purposes. Persons on the following Social Welfare payments are provided with a Public Services Card with yellow "FT" in the top right-hand corner, which functions as a smart card in the same way as a Leap Card, but allows free travel:

  • Pension (senior citizens over 66).
  • Disability Allowance (persons with a disabling medical condition lasting longer than a year approved by a general practitioner, a departmental medical officer or a departmental welfare officer).
  • Carers Allowance.

Visitors from non-European countries to Ireland must pay full adult fare on buses, trams and trains regardless of their age or disability, and would thus be better off financially with a Leap Visitor Card set with the appropriate period pre-loaded (24 hours, 3 days, 7 days).

The free travel system was created by Ministerial Order (not an Act of the Oireachtas as with many such schemes) by then Minister for Health, Charles J Haughey in the late 1960s and is considered a 'third rail' politically.

Luas Tram Dublin Overview

Luas Locale: Dublin, Ireland
Luas Transit Type: Tram (or Light rail)
Luas Number of Lines: 2 (Red and Green)
Luas Number of Stations: 67
Luas Daily Ridership: 114,500 passengers
Luas Annual Ridership: 48 million passengers (2019)
Luas Began Operation: 30 June 2004, 19 years ago
Luas Operator(s): Transdev
Luas Number of Vehicles: 26 Citadis 301 (3000 Class)
14 Citadis 401 (4000 Class)
41 Citadis 402 (5000 Class)

Luas System Length: 42.1 kilometres (26.2 mi)
Luas Track Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge
Luas Electrification: 750 V DC overhead line


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