Home News Out Look: 2023 Smashes Record for Public Transport Journeys

Out \ Look: 2023 Smashes Record for Public Transport Journeys

Colum Harmon, marketing director, PML Group with this week’s Out \ Look on Out of Home

Out of Home advertisers will be buoyed by the fact that 2023 saw record passenger numbers on the nation’s public transport services. According to preliminary figures released by the National Transport Authority (NTA), the number of passengers using Ireland’s public transport network during 2023 has returned to record highs.

A remarkable 308 million passenger journeys were provided by Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Luas, Go-Ahead Ireland and TFI Local Link on ‘Transport for Ireland’ Public Service Obligation (PSO) services last year, making it the busiest ever year for the public transport network. This is the first year ever that passenger numbers on PSO services have exceeded 300 million. The figure represents a 24% increase in journeys, compared to 2022, and significantly, a 5% jump on the previous record year in 2019.

Of the 308 million, almost half were carried by Dublin Bus, with the company providing more than 145 million passenger journeys in 2023, an increase of 20% year on year.

Bus Éireann served in excess of 44 million passengers during the past twelve months, a significant increase on the 35 million passengers who used its services the previous year, and Luas carried 48.2 million passengers last year, a 25% rise compared to the 38.6 million passengers in 2022.

Figures from Iarnród Éireann show rail passenger journeys in 2023 also grew significantly, as the post Covid recovery continues. An estimated 45.5 million passenger journeys were made by rail during the past 12 months, up from 35.8 million in 2022.

These figures represent increased mobility among the public, more people out and about and more opportunity to engage OOH media across multiple commuter touchpoints. Travel hubs such as bus stops, train stations and LUAS stops offer advertisers massive audiences and valuable dwell time. And, of course, the transport vehicles themselves are highly impactful and mobile, visible to commuters, pedestrians, and other vehicles on the road. Ultimately, these figures are about audience. More audience for Outdoor marketing activity – be it on transport formats or more generally on roadside and retail formats also.

Recently in Out \ Look, we shared the latest TomTom report on global traffic congestion, which placed Dublin among the most congested in the world. Combined with these new public transport statistics, it forms a potent and powerful mix for advertisers to communicate with a mass audience through OOH advertising.

The Toucan flies again for Guinness 0.0

While initiatives like Dry January have emerged as inviting prospects after the festive season, Diageo have a compelling reason to get consumers visiting their local pubs thanks to Guinness 0.0.

Conceived by Forsman & Bodenfors, and planned by PHD and Source OOH, the OOH campaign’s retro flavour revives the vintage Toucan to reflect the brand’s legacy.

The campaign is live across Digital Golden Squares, 48 Sheets, Europanels, and a dynamic mix of classic & digital 6s across transport and retail areas. These were accompanied by a single-night street projection at the junction of Dublin’s Baggot Street and Herbert Street, featuring animated copy that wowed passers-by in the high-footfall area.


The creative approach resonates with the sentiment that as times evolve certain treasures should be preserved. Diageo want to ensure the social aspect of savouring a pint at your local is not inhibited by a lifestyle adjustment, using Guinness 0.0 to make that more accessible and inclusive than ever.

“What better way to celebrate Guinness 0.0 being available on draught in over 1,000 pubs in Ireland than by using the iconic Toucan to invite consumers to get together with Guinness 0.0,” notes Alan McAleenan, Marketing Director for Guinness in Ireland, “I hope you agree the new “My Goodness! My Guinness 0.0” campaign looks fantastic- it’s unmistakably Guinness and unmistakably non-alc.”

The shift towards a more conscious approach to alcohol consumption is evident throughout the year. A third of Irish consumers have recently augmented their indulgence in low- and no-alcohol alternatives (CGA by NIQ), while our Zero in Focus study showed 35% of all Dublin alcohol drinkers were partaking in ‘Dry January’.

Research Excellence Showcase

We were delighted to showcase our winning research excellence award case study at this week’s Market Society winner’s event, hosted by Core. Our marketing director, Colum Harmon, presented the findings from the research initiative alongside Damian Loscher from Ipsos B&A. The ‘4T’ project won gold in the Media category at the Research Excellence Awards in December.

The judges said of the entry “An excellent rationale and approach using traditional primary methods combined with other sources of data, coupled with strong findings re QR Codes and the overall role and impact of OOH. Strong results with quantifiable evidence. The judges thought it was very interesting to see research supporting the seamless use of digital and real life between online and offline environments.”

For more details on 4T please contact the team on info@pmlgroup.ie

Samsung Takes to the Sky for Galaxy Launch

A huge spaceship hovered over the River Thames in London last week as 552 drones carried out an aerial display to promote the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series.

The drone display, which was one of the biggest ever in the UK, was orchestrated by drone light show specialist Celestial which partnered with the Taylor Herring and St Marks’ Studios agencies.

In keeping with the Galaxy theme, the drones took spectators in the city’s Canary Wharf area on a journey through the solar system.

The Galaxy S24 device was then beamed into the sky, before morphing into a solar system. The show culminated with a spaceship hovering in the air.

Annika Bizon, marketing and omnichannel director for Samsung UK and Ireland, said: “To celebrate the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, we wanted to capture the wonder and amazement of this new age of smartphone by creating a spectacular drone show that would gaze beyond our planet and into the galaxy.”

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