Today the National Transport Authority announced that operators of most subsidised public transport services are to move to a new schedule of services on a phased basis from Monday March 30.
Revised timetables for Iarnród Éireann will come into effect on Monday March 30, while those for Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland and Bus Éireann, will come into effect Wednesday April 1. Under the revised timetables, services will run at approximately 80% of current levels.
The Authority recently requested operators to monitor passengers loading on services across the network. The information drawn from this process, along with the most up-to-date advice and guidance from the health authorities in relation to social distancing, were taken into account when putting together the new timetables.
While passenger numbers on public transport services are down by about 80%, there are some services that continue to have heavier loading, giving rise to potential concerns around social distancing. With some fleet and driver resources being freed up under the new schedules, additional vehicles can be readily allocated to services where there is greater demand, addressing social distancing concerns.
NTA and the transport operators are confident that the capacity of customers and staff to observe social distancing requirements will be maintained under the new timetables.
Under the new schedules, demands on the public transport fleet will be reduced. In an environment where the supply chain for materials could face disruption, the move to the revised timetables will enable the public transport operators, particularly Iarnród Éireann, to conserve maintenance materials and components. This will ensure that fleet is more likely to remain available for service on a longer term basis.
It also means the operators will be in a stronger position to ensure ongoing reliable continuity of services in the context of increasing rates of COVID-19 in Ireland.
All areas that currently have a public transport service will continue to have one. The new timetables for services operated by Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland and Bus Éireann are due to commence Wednesday next. These operators are moving to a ‘Saturday Plus’ schedule which will be based on the current Saturday schedule, augmented by additional services, particularly in the early morning.
Go-Ahead Ireland will be operating services at approximately 94% of current levels, with Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann both operating services at over 80% of current levels. While there will be some reductions in peak and off-peak services, on-bus journey times are faster as a result of a dramatic reduction in traffic in built-up areas.
Full details will be available at company websites in the coming days:
Iarnród Éireann services on Intercity services will be at 45-65% of normal levels. Services on commuter services in the Dublin area will also be at 45-65% of normal levels. DART will operate every 15 minutes at peak, and every 30 minutes at other times. Individual trains will operate at maximum train size where possible to facilitate social distancing.
Full details available on the Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail website.
Luas services will not change at this time. Luas will manage the service daily by extending the tram headways if required.
NTA is communicating information on the schedule changes to customers in advance, through media and marketing channels. Full information will be available from NTA and the operators in advance online, and on the TFI journey planner and TFI Real Time information apps.
In all cases the Authority will seek to ensure bus services to hospitals and other essential facilities are maintained as an over-riding priority.
Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said:
“I would like to acknowledge the work being done by our transport operators and their staff in these difficult times and for responding to the challenges by putting these new schedules in place.
I’d like to thank all those who are providing these essential services so that people who rely on public transport, working in hospitals, pharmacies, the grocery sector, and other vital areas, can continue to get to where they are needed to the benefit of us all.”
Anne Graham, NTA Chief Executive Officer said:
“NTA would like to thank everybody involved in the public transport sector for the effort they are putting in to make sure that vital services can be kept going.
The revised schedules we are announcing today, will ensure that those who need to, can continue to get around, on services that remain frequent and reliable, now and in the weeks ahead.”