I was playing around the other day with the fantastic Central Statistic Offices website and their databases and while looking at the transport dataset I graphed the rise and decline of rail journeys since 1981 and noted that the DART and Dublin Suburban rail usage patterns paralleled the rise and decline in per capita GDP growth.
While there are obvious differences with some years I can only imagine that around the 2004 and 2005 period the upgrade of the DART at weekends played some impact on the slump in growth figures combined with the surge at the 2006 period onwards accounts for the massive divergence and catch up with GDP trend.
The graph provides a tongue in cheek illustration that the growth of Ireland in dominated by the fortunes of the Dublin and Commuter Belt economy as illustrated with rail commuter patterns essentially if people in Dublin & surrounds are working Ireland grows and it can been seen in the growth of commuting and it’s decline with the onset of the recession.
Note: Prior to 2005 both Dublin Suburban & DART passenger figures were complied together and from 2005 onwards are separated. For the sake of consistency the combined figures for the 2005-2009 period are maintained.