Bus Éireann urges passengers to take only necessary journeys and avoid peak times
Demand is exceeding Covid-19 capacity on some services
The company said its commercial Expressway operation had 8,000 seats available daily, compared to 16,000 before Covid-19 restrictions were put in place. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times
Bus Éireann has urged people to undertake only necessary journeys and to avoid, where possible, peak travel times on its Expressway routes.
The State-owned transport company said that the implementation of public health guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 meant that capacity on buses and coaches was strictly limited to 50 per cent of the total.
It said it regretted that some people were not able to board its Expressway services when they wanted to travel.
The company said its commercial Expressway operation had 8,000 seats available daily, compared to 16,000 before Covid-19 restrictions were put in place. In addition 64 per cent of licensed coach and bus services were currently not operational and this “very substantially reduced capacity on intercity routes from pre Covid-19 levels”, it added.
Bus Éireann chief commercial officer Eleanor Farrell said on Wednesday: “We very much regret that, despite all of our available coaches and drivers being deployed, at the moment some people are not able to board Expressway services when they wish to travel.
“Public health and safety is our absolute priority and there can be no flexibility on overloading coaches. We realise this is disappointing, and also that it can be challenging for our drivers. No one wants to leave people without transport.
“Full services can be of particular concern to people wishing to travel from intermediate stops and we anticipate that demand may continue to increase.”
She said the company wanted to encourage people to consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary and, especially if they plan on joining a service mid-route, to check the Expressway and Bus Éireann live Twitter feeds which will advise if the coach is full on departure.
Ms Farrell said it was also important to try to travel outside of peak demand periods.
At the moment, the busiest times are from 11am to 1pm and from 3pm to 7pm. There is more demand at weekends, especially Friday afternoons and Sundays.
“We very much appreciate the understanding and cooperation of customers and our staff as we manage demand through these unprecedented times and look forward to keeping people connected around the country.”
The company said that due to social distancing requirements, bus stations also had reduced capacity for those waiting for departures.
“Bus Éireann asks that passengers do not arrive earlier than 15 minutes before their scheduled departure time, as it may not be possible to enter the station before then.”
Since June 29th, wearing a face covering is mandatory on Bus Éireann’s services, and terms and conditions of carriage have been amended accordingly. Drivers are required to wear face coverings during customer interactions including during boarding and alighting.