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Traffic on M50 'increases by 30% and petrol drops by 3c' on first week of Phase One

The government relaxed Covid-19 restrictions slightly, to allow some people to return to work, and garden centres to open.

Pictured is much reduced rush hour traffic on the M50.
Pictured is much reduced rush hour traffic on the M50.

TRAFFIC HAS INCREASED by 30% and fuel prices have dropped on the first week since restrictions introduced by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were relaxed.

On Monday, Phase One of the government’s five-phase plan was introduced, which allowed people to travel up to 5km for exercise, and gatherings of up to four people, if they are socially distant.

Garden centres and hardware stores, and tech repair shops were also allowed to reopen, and some businesses were allowed to return to work if they complied with strict criteria set by the government.

According to data from Transport Infrastructure Ireland and analysis of traffic patterns by the AA, there has been an increase of traffic up to 42% on main routes across the country.

The AA said that in the first three days of this past week, traffic volumes on the M50 increased by over 32% compared to the same period last week, with the M11 seeing the largest increase in traffic on main routes with a 42% increase.

Despite the increases seen in the past week, traffic levels of all routes analysed remain significantly below levels typically seen before the Covid-19 outbreak.

“For example, when compared to the same period in 2019, this week’s traffic volumes on the M50 were at just over half [its normal rate, at 54.3%], with the M6 in Galway seeing just 48.3% of normal volumes,” the AA said.

A litre of petrol has fallen from a price of 126.9c in April to a current national average of 123.7c, with diesel seeing a drop from last month’s price of 116.9c per litre to a current average of 115.5c

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Both fuels have dropped significantly in price compared to the start of the year, when a litre of petrol cost 144.5c, with diesel costing 135.9c on average.

“As the country starts the slow process of lifting the COVID-19 restrictions, we have seen traffic levels start to increase somewhat with more people undertaking journeys to the likes of hardware stores and garden centres and, with many of us looking to keep our day-to-day costs down, the continued drop is fuel prices is something to be welcomed,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs said.

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