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on the road again

Public transport services return to full capacity today for the first time in over a year

Masks are still a requirement across public transport.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICES are allowed to fill all their seats today for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

As part of the latest stage of easing remaining Covid-19 restrictions decided by the government yesterday, public transport can now operate at 100% capacity.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) confirmed that buses, trams and trains would be returning to full capacity and that seats would no longer be blocked off to avoid people sitting too close together.

The lifting of capacity limits coincides with the return of schools and third level education, as well as the reopening of offices next month.

The new public health measures allow for non-essential employees to return to their workplaces from 20 September.  

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said that “we do need public transport back because we are going to be bringing people back to offices and college and they need a way to get in”.

Since the start of the pandemic, public transport providers have been told to limit their passenger numbers to one-quarter, half, or three-quarters of maximum capacity.

On 19 July, capacity was allowed to increase from 50% to 75%, which was in place until yesterday. The government advised people to “walk or cycle where possible”.

NTA Chief Executive Officer Anne Graham said that she welcomed “the decision by Cabinet that public transport can now safely return to 100% capacity”.

“The wearing of face coverings remains mandatory, and I would ask that passengers be patient while getting on and off services and to always treat transport staff with respect,” Graham said.

“We look forward to passenger demand increasing as confidence in the safety of public transport grows.”

She said that the NTA will “continue to liaise with transport operators to monitor passenger trends and any challenges that may arise as we return to full capacity”.

“The NTA would urge everybody to continue to be considerate of other passengers. If you’re on a busy service, continue to be mindful of more vulnerable customers whose need for a seat may be greater than yours.

“As schools and third-level institutions return to on-site learning we expect services to become busier in the coming weeks.  If you want to avoid busy services our advice is to plan ahead of your trip and avoid peak times if possible.”

Wearing a face covering on public transport is still mandatory and will remain a requirement even after 22 October, when effectively all other restrictions bar mask-wearing are due to lift.

Dublin Bus is asking passengers to use hand sanitiser when they board, leave windows open for ventilation, and give priority for seating downstairs to people who are older, pregnant, or disabled.

On trains, pre-booking is still required for some of Irish Rail’s services.

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