Record numbers to be en route over holidays

 

Passengers travelling by bus, rail, sea and air this Christmas are advised to plan trips well in advance with unprecedented numbers on the move, according to Irish travel services.

The Christmas rush will begin in earnest this Thursday and Friday and peak on Christmas Eve, before a second rush next week with Near Year's Eve revellers taking weekend breaks.

More than 860,000 passengers are expected to pass through Dublin airport from December 22rd to January 2nd, an increase of 8 per cent on last year, ensuring its busiest ever Christmas.

December 23rd and December 30th are traditionally the busiest days before and after Christmas. Over 70,000 are expected to travel on each day this year.

Dublin Airport Authority has asked passengers not to gift-wrap presents in case they are required to open them by security officials.

Ryanair said it will carry more than one million passengers over all the cities on its routes, an increase of 25 per cent on the same period last year.

Intercity rail and bus services will carry more than half a million passengers between them, according to Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann.

Iarnród Éireann expects to carry about 250,000 passengers from December 23rd to January 2nd, a 5 per cent increase on last year. Passengers are advised to plan trips well in advance of travel and to arrive early, particularly at the main terminus stations. An altered timetable will be in operation, with additional services on certain days. Timetables can be checked and bookings made online at www.irishrail.ie.

Bus Éireann is advising passengers to check its website at www.buseireann.ie or the local travel centre for changes to the timetable over Christmas. City bus services will finish early on Christmas Eve, ending at 9pm in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, 8.30pm in Waterford and between 7pm and 8pm in Galway.

Stena Line expects to carry close to 100,000 passengers on its Irish Sea routes. Irish Ferries expects to carry 10,000 to 12,000 passengers. Most of the "prime sailings" are full but some spaces are still available online at  www.stenaline.ie