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Taxis in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Taxis in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Image: Sam Boal/

Car traffic is slowly returning but public transport is still way down on last year

At the peak of Covid-19 restrictions traffic was down by about 78%, it’s now down by 16.3% in Dublin and 12.6% elsewhere.
Aug 17th 2020, 4:11 PM 16,039 35

ROAD TRAFFIC IS recovering from a Covid-19 slump faster than public transport, according to the latest figures from the CSO.

The figures are similar in both Dublin and other areas around the country but traffic in the capital appears to be returning at a slower rate.

The analysis is based on the volume of cars that were recorded at selected sites on the first week in August.

  • Read more here on how you can support a major Noteworthy project to examine the impact of air pollution from traffic and other sources on the health of our citizens.

Vehicles are counted when they pass over loops embedded in the road surface. Using this technology, the CSO has estimated that car traffic in Dublin is now down by 16.3% compared to the same time last year, while other regional sites are just 12.6% down.

At the peak of Covid-19 restrictions in April, traffic was down by about 78% based on the previous year. 

Despite car traffic being down, HGV traffic in Dublin is currently up by about 3.5% compared to last year. 

PastedImage-59633 Source: CSO

But while car traffic may be on a gradual recovery, public transport numbers are still way down compared to 2019.  

The data shows that the combined number of journeys taken on bus and rail journeys in the week of 12 April was more than 10 times lower than those taken in the first week of March.

On the Luas, passenger traffic was down by 95% on 12 April compared to the previous year but it is still down by 60%.

“The number of passenger journeys on public transport has dropped dramatically since the start of the Covid-19 crisis with journeys by rail most severely hit,” CSO statistician Olive Loughnane said of the figures. 

Public transport volumes are recovering at a much slower rate than road traffic. Data from Irish airports shows that air transport continues to be heavily impacted by restrictions.

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PastedImage-88461 Source:

In terms of air traffic, the number of passengers travelling through Ireland’s airports last month plunged by almost 90% because of the ongoing travel restrictions.

Figures show that during the month of July, usually the peak of the holiday season, the total number of air passengers travelling through Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports fell from 3,911,133 to 416,436.

This represents a drop of 89.4% when compared with the same period last year.

The number of passengers travelling through these airports in the first seven months of 2020 is 70.3% lower than the same period last year.

- With reporting by PA

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Rónán Duffy


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