Irish Rail curtail commuter services into Dublin due to staff absence

Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus also report disruptions due to staff sick linked to coronavirus

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has said there is no "immediate cause for concern" for public transport services, over the impact of the current surge in Covid-19 cases on staff numbers.

Irish Rail has moved to curtail services on several train routes into Dublin over the coming days, due to the number of staff out sick with the virus, or self-isolating as close contacts.

The disruption affects trains between Dublin and Carlow, Newbridge and Hazelhatch. The temporary changes are in place until Friday, Irish Rail has said.

The NTA said it was in contact with all public transport operators about the number of staff on leave due to the disease.

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“At present there is no immediate cause for concern on most services,” said a spokesman for the transport authority.

“Some operators are experiencing localised increases in absence levels which leads to a limited number of services being cancelled at short notice,” he said.

Between 5 and 10 per cent of staff absences were related to the virus, with the authority to “monitor the situation closely”.

The NTA said at present there were no restrictions on public transport capacity and measures such as mandatory face masks for passengers remained in place.

Dublin Bus reaction

Bus Éireann has said it is seeing "minor disruption as a result of Covid-related absences", but was working to minimise changes or disruption for customers.

The service said it had “robust mitigation measures in place” to address concerns over the disease, including deep cleaning of buses overnight and hand sanitising units on board vehicles and in stations.

“We also remind passengers to wear masks throughout their journey and in bus stations and compliance is extremely high,” said a Bus Éireann spokeswoman.

Dublin Bus said it was running a full timetable, but was facing “higher than usual levels of employee absence due to Covid-19”.

As a result there were some “minor disruptions to a limited number of our timetabled services” with the company watching the situation closely, said a spokeswoman.

“Dublin Bus does not give details on the number of employee absences or cases relating to Covid-19 and nor have we at any time during the pandemic” she said.

A spokeswoman for Transdev, who operate the Luas, said there would likely be changes to Luas services this week, with customers advised to check its website for details.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times