Vehicle journeys across the State’s main roads have increased by more than 600,000 in the last week as workers started returning to the office on Monday.
There was an average of 7,072,174 vehicle journeys each day in the seven days to Thursday, according to Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s traffic counter system which monitors most of the busiest stretches of road in the State.
The equivalent figure for the seven days to Tuesday last week (September 14th) was 6,451,817 journeys per day. This would indicate a 9.6 per cent increase in traffic volumes this week
The figures show vehicle journeys are up by an average of 17 per cent on the same time last year.
There has been a notable increase in September on August with six days left in the month. Traffic volumes at the junction between the M1 and the M50 at Dublin Airport is already up by 5 per cent on August and is more than double what it was in January.
Traffic at the Red Cow Roundabout, the junction of the M7 and the M50, is up by 9 per cent on August. At the Dunkettle interchange in Cork it is up by 7 per cent and by 5.5 per cent on the Headford Road into Galway. In Limerick traffic at the busy junction of the M7, M18 and M20 motorways is up by 5 per cent.
David Cullen of Euro Car Parks said the number of office workers using reserved car parks in the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) jumped from an average of 10 a day last week to 95 a day this week. This is half of the allocated reserved spaces for drivers.
He believes that it shows “hybrid” working is already beginning with office workers choosing to spend some of the week working from home.
He said there is a waiting list for spaces in the Docklands car park.
Euro Car Park operates more than 200 car parks in Ireland and Mr Cullen said there was a notable difference between car parks in Dublin which are getting busier and those outside Dublin where the uptake is not as significant.
Pedestrian traffic has also increased. Visit Dublin chief executive Richard Guiney said the first three days of the week saw a 6 per cent increase in footfall in the city centre. For the first time since Christmas footfall in the city centre has reached 70 per cent of the 2019 levels.
“There are some notable differences. There is a lot more to go to determine how things are going to pan out. It is going to take some time,” he said.
“The feedback we have got is that people are coming back a day or two a week and that will increase by the end of the year.
“The office workers are important for retailers and hospitality. We are moving in the right direction. When we opened in May we were in the 50 per cent bracket.”
Bus and rail
Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne said on Wednesday this week the company carried 301,762 customers, the most in one day since the pandemic began in March 2020. He anticipates that they will eventually carry 450,000 passengers a day.
The company expects to get busier with third-level institutions returning to normal.
An Irish Rail spokesman said figures are not available yet for intercity and Dart services, but he anticipated that they would show the same incremental increases evident since public transport returned to full capacity in August.