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Sasko Lazarov/
covid restrictions

Return of schools likely to 'give rise to additional pressure' on public transport services, NTA chief says

In line with the government’s Level 5 restrictions, public transport capacity is currently restricted to 25%.

LAST UPDATE | 1 Nov 2020

THE RETURN OF schools tomorrow is “likely to give rise to additional pressure” on public transport services as capacity remains reduced to 25% due to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions, the CEO of the National Transport Authority (NTA) has said. 

In a statement this morning, the NTA said public transport should only be used for essential journeys and that customers should avoid peak travel times.

In line with the government’s Level 5 restrictions, public transport capacity is currently restricted to 25%. 

The NTA said this has resulted in some services coming under severe pressure with passengers being left behind in some instances. 

The problem is most acute on buses early in the morning, particularly in the Dublin region, the NTA said. 

Schools are set to reopen tomorrow following the midterm break. 

“The return of schools on Monday is likely to give rise to additional pressure. We are anxious to make sure that customers are aware of the situation,” NTA CEO Anne Graham said. 

“The NTA is asking people to avoid travelling at peak times and only use public transport for essential purposes,” Graham said. 

Nobody wants to see a situation where essential workers, such as those on the healthcare frontline, cannot get on a bus. 

“People who can work from home should work from home. We continue to encourage people to walk or cycle where possible,” she said. 

“Customers who have no alternative to public transport should expect their journeys to take longer and plan ahead accordingly.”

Graham added that “drivers and other public transport staff are working in a very challenging environment, and customers should remain respectful of them at all times”.

This afternoon, the National Bus and Rail Union called on the NTA and Dublin Bus to provide designated buses for HSE staff. 

“Whilst the Halloween Mid-term break did bring some relief with schools being closed, the reality is that those routes that serve up to nine hospitals across Dublin are still experiencing capacity difficulties, with vital frontline HSE staff being unable to access their bus to work,” General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said. 

O’Leary said that the union had made the suggestion before, but nothing had been done since. 

“Leaving the decision of who does, or does not, have access to a bus driver is causing much angst,” he said.

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