NTA Press Statement: Public transport service levels to increase from Monday to accommodate essential journeys
5 months ago
Services on public transport will increase from Monday as part of Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.
Services provided for Iarnród Éireann, Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland and Bus Éireann were reduced by approximately 20% in the first week of April in response to the Covid crisis. Under those revised schedules, buses have been operating to a ‘Saturday-plus’ level of services, while Irish Rail services, including DART, have been operating at a reduced level. There were no changes made to Luas services or to Local Link regular services.
From next week, a schedule in line with the pre-covid ‘Monday to Friday’ schedule will be in place for buses and DART. Buses will also revert to pre-covid schedules at weekends although DART schedules on Saturdays and Sundays will continue to operate at reduced levels.
There will be some additional capacity and services on commuter and intercity rail routes.
Luas schedules are to remain unchanged, as are Local Link services.
National Transport Authority CEO Anne Graham said: “While there is some increase in services planned for next week, social distancing requirements mean that overall capacity remains restricted to just over 20% of pre-Covid levels. This means that public transport should only be used by essential workers or for other people making essential journeys.
“Only those who absolutely have to travel at peak times on public transport, should do so. Others making essential journeys should avoid peak times and travel and at other times of the day if at all possible. Peak times to be avoided are before 9.30 in the morning and between 3.00 and 6.00 in the evening.
“Many of us have now become accustomed to working from home, and while it is not possible for everybody, the more people who continue to do so, the less pressure there will be on our buses, trains and trams in the weeks ahead. This means that more of those who have to travel to their workplace, will be able to do so on public transport.
“To ease any potential pressure on services, we are strongly encouraging those people who can get to their destinations by walking or cycling, to do so. Some 350,000 people live within six kilometers of O’Connell Bridge, which means that if they chose to cycle, they could get from their home to the centre of Dublin in less than 30 minutes. With fewer cars and trucks on our roads, cycling has become much safer, and local authorities across the country are making the centres of our cities and towns more attractive for those opting for these active travel modes.
“We are also urging customers to wear face coverings while on public transport. Doing so will increase protection for other customers and for public transport workers. This is an important part of the effort to rebuild confidence in public transport as we move through the phases of the Roadmap, and as restrictions are eased across the country.”
Minister Ross said: “Over the course of the Covid-19 emergency, we have been working closely with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and all our transport operators to ensure services continue safely for those who need to use public transport.
“While the reopening of retail shops on Monday is welcome, shops will be required to operate staggered hours, opening no earlier than 10.30am and allocating dedicated time at the start for elderly, vulnerable and at-risk groups. Staggered and later opening hours by retailers will minimise significant expected pressures on public transport at peak times. The Government continues to support the NTA call to organisations to facilitate working from home and also emphasises the need for public transport to be used for essential journeys only, with people walking or cycling if possible.”
“It is important that we all continue to do our part in addressing this challenge and ensure that the easing of restrictions will be successful and the efforts and sacrifices of so many are rewarded.”