By Michelle McGlynn
Bus and train services across the country are to be restored to pre-Covid schedules from Monday.
Revised schedules had been introduced for Iarnród Éireann, Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland and Bus Éireann which saw services reduced by 20% in the first week of April.
Since then buses have been operating a “Saturday-plus” level of service while Irish Rail services have been operating at a reduced level.
From Monday, a pre-Covid Monday to Friday schedule will be in place for buses and DART.
At weekends, buses will revert to pre-Covid schedules and DART schedules will continue to operate at reduced levels.
On commuter and intercity rail routes there will be some additional capacity.
Luas and Local Link services remain unchanged.
While there will be increased services, social distancing rules mean that the overall capacity will be reduced to just over 20% of pre-Covid levels.
People are being urged to only use public transport if they are an essential worker or making an essential journey.
If not travelling for work, those taking essential journeys are asked to avoid peak times – before 9.30am and between 3pm and 6pm.
“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,” said Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority (NTA).
“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.”
People are strongly urged to wear face coverings if possible for their safety and for that of other passengers and public transport workers.
Minister for Transport, Shane Ross said that he and his department have been working closely with the NTA throughout the Covid crisis to ensure the safety of 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,” Minister Ross said.
“Staggered and later opening hours by retailers will minimise significant expected pressures on public transport at peak times.”
Last month, the Parliamentary Budget Office said CIE, which manages Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann were €200 million down on passenger fares in the first six months of this year.