Cashless public transport is still at least two years away for the capital, according to the National Transport Authority.

The NTA is committed to introducing cashless bus operations in Dublin as part of the re-organisation of the network under the Bus Connects project.

The plan to re-organise the bus network was announced almost a year ago by Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

€1bn is to invested over ten years on the scheme that involves redrawing bus routes, creating enhanced bus corridors and introducing cashless fare payments across the network.

However NTA chief executive Anne Graham says it will be around two years before cashless operations start to be introduced on Dublin Bus.

Existing machines will have to be updated to be able to process credit cards and mobile phone technology as well as Leap cards.

Ms Graham was speaking at an event to mark the sale of the 3 millionth Leap card.

The card gives a 20% discount for public transport users in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford.

It is now used on more than 70% of public transport journeys in the greater Dublin area.

Criticism of change to bus colour scheme

Meanwhile plans to change the colour of Dublin Buses with the introduction of privatised routes have been criticised by an opposition spokesperson.

Fianna Fáil's Dublin spokesman John Lahart says he disagrees with the decision by the NTA to do away with the current blue and yellow livery.

"It’s a brand that has served us well as an example of a public company doing a good job," he said.

New buses to operated by the British company Go Ahead will be coloured all blue, with the exact design yet to be finalised.

As new Dublin Bus vehicles are added to the fleet they will have the same livery.

However individual buses will be marked as either Dublin Bus or Go Ahead.

The Go Ahead buses are due to start in August and will eventually take in 23 existing routes that serve the outer suburbs including the 185, which connects Bray with Newtownmountkennedy, the 76a, which connects Blanchardstown and Tallaght shopping centres, and the 220, which travels from Ballymun to Mulhuddart.

In addition a new route, the 175, will operate from Citywest to UCD.