PRESS RELEASE - 19 April 2021
Dublin Commuter Coalition is calling on the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, and the National Transport Authority to bring an end to the ‘enhanced Saturday schedules’ and restore bus and rail services to their full weekday schedules. Transport demand has increased considerably over the past few weeks but the capacity remains much lower than what they were in January when weekday services were reduced. As a result, there have been widespread reports of overcrowding and delayed journeys.
Public Relations Officer, Feljin Jose, said: “There are many more people commuting to work than previous lockdowns and now the schools have fully returned too. 25% seat availability for COVID-19 reasons obviously puts a huge strain on capacity but reducing that capacity further by running weekend timetables instead of full Monday-Friday timetables is exacerbating the issue and causing unnecessary hardship for people making essential journeys on public transport.”
Cian Duffy of Dublin Commuter Coalition, who is an essential worker and cannot work from home, said “My regular trains have both been reduced from seven cars to four since the start of January, along with a reduction in the number of peak-time trains. This has led to crowding well beyond the allowed capacity for months now, and despite staff taking headcounts, and my own reports to Irish Rail, there has been no improvement and the only answer you get is a copy and paste statement about 25% capacity - even though they are maybe offering 5% with the reduced frequencies and train sizes. I have returned to driving, but this is not sustainable from an environmental perspective - and many others may not have a car or the funds to use one daily anyway"
Jason Cullen of Dublin Commuter Coalition is also an essential worker and has been travelling on the DART and the bus throughout the pandemic. He said: “There has been a noticeable increase in usage of both DART and bus services since the full return of schools. At the beginning of the pandemic, I would often be the only one on the carriage by Connolly Station but that is no longer the case. Banks of seats are now regularly occupied by groups of students & working colleagues travelling together which has made social distancing as per the signage impossible. If Iarnród Éireann and Dublin Bus expect to keep capacity at 25% then a full service needs to be reinstated in order to deal with the additional passengers.”