Reduced timetables, but more buses to limit Covid-19 risk

Irish Rail to close Waterford to Limerick Junction and Ballybrophy to Limerick routes

Bus Éireann has introduced revised timetables across many of its routes, generally reducing to Saturday-service levels. File photograph: The Irish Times

Bus Éireann has introduced revised timetables across many of its routes, generally reducing to Saturday-service levels. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

Public transport operators are cutting services and diverting trains and buses to peak times in an attempt to ensure less crowded conditions from this week.

Revised timetables for Irish Rail across all routes will come into effect on Monday with Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland and Bus Éireann, following on Wednesday.

The revised timetables will mean reduced services in the region of 20 per cent.

Irish Rail will operate a new journey planner online showing Dart and commuter services operating from April 6th. Detailed timetables will be available by Thursday April 2nd, said the company.

In other changes there will be no services offered on the Waterford to Limerick Junction line, or the Limerick via Nenagh to Ballybrophy route.

M3 Parkway to Clonsilla services will not operate on Saturdays and Sundays and there will be further revisions to Dublin-Belfast Enterprise and Ballina Co Mayo services. Details of these revisions are to be published on Irish Rail’s online booking page.

Irish Rail said it is to maximise train size wherever possible to ensure social distancing on board. With some fleet and driver resources being freed up under the new schedules, additional carriages and trains are to be allocated to services where there is greater demand, to address concerns over social distancing.

All on-board assigned seating has been suspended. Intercity journeys – including Low Fare and Semi Flexible – are now eligible for cancellation or alteration without penalty up to 90 minutes before departure

Irish Rail chief executive Jim Meade said rail services will continue to operate “unless public policy or the advice of health professionals changes, or unless our workforce is impacted to an extent which makes further service reduction unavoidable”.

He said almost4,000 Irish Rail workers are committed to ensuring healthcare workers and other workers for essential services can travel.

New Dublin Bus arrangements which take place from Wednesday will mean Nitelink and Airlink services suspended until further notice. The company’s head office, including public sales and information office the lost property office, will be closed until Sunday, April 12th, at least.

Because of social distancing requirements to be rolled out in the coming week buses will operate with lower passenger numbers. In some cases this means buses may not stop for additional passengers. But more buses are being deployed to busier routes and at peak times.

Chief executive of Bus Éireann Stephen Kent said services to schools have been suspended. But the company would continue to serve communities, hospitals and healthcare facilities .

Bus Éireann has introduced revised timetables across many of its routes, generally reducing to Saturday-service levels. Full details by route are published on the Bus Éireannwebsite. The changes come into effect on Wednesday.

Mr Kent said customers are asked to take “full consideration of public health guidelines in relation to social distancing” on board and and waiting at stations. “It is through the dedication and commitment of our loyal front line staff that we have been able to ensure that all Bus Éireann services are running as scheduled,” he said. Mr Kent also asked passengers to buy tickets through vending machines, online, or to use Leap cards.