The Department of Transport has said that while there is likely to be a natural reduction in the numbers using public transport as a result of the increase in Covid-19 cases, that public transport services, frequency and capacity are continuing as normal.
It comes following local concerns about passengers from different households sitting in close proximity to one another on public transport.
A Department spokesperson told The Echo that the National Transport Authority (NTA) is working with public transport operators - both public and private - in relation to implementing public health advice.
The NTA is closely monitoring public transport demand and continues to have regular engagement with the various public transport operators in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on the sector.
"The NTA and public transport operators will continue to be guided by public health advice,” the spokesperson said.
The NTA has advised customers that wearing a face-covering on public transport remains mandatory; transport operators will continue daily cleaning regimes on their fleet; hand sanitiser is available on-board buses and at stations for our passengers; windows should be left open on-board where available to improve ventilation; Leap Card and other cashless payments should be used where possible and advised people to plan ahead of their trip and avoid peak times where possible.
The spokesperson said that while 75% of the Iarnród Éireann fleet do not have openable windows, that air conditioning systems renew the air in these carriages every six to eight minutes, in line with current European Norms (EN) and International Union of Railways (UIC) standards.
🎄 Christmas and New Year train services - please check all times before travel from Christmas Eve to 3rd January inclusive for changes to regular timetables, at https://t.co/o5iOcUHYA2— Iarnród Éireann #WearAMask (@IrishRail) December 22, 2021
🎅 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our customers pic.twitter.com/Gxoyx20dGt
“All fleets with openable windows have notices affixed to remind customers they should be left open, and enter service with windows open,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Bus Éireann reassured customers that the safety of the company’s staff and its passengers is first priority.
The spokesperson said that Bus Éireann has “robust Covid-19 mitigation measures in place”, including hand sanitising units on-board and in stations, touchpoint cleaning during the day and deep cleaning of buses overnight, and reminders to leave windows open.
We also remind passengers to wear masks throughout their journey and in bus stations as face coverings have been mandatory on public transport for passengers aged 13 and over since July 13, 2020 with some exceptions, as set out in legislation.
“Customers have maintained exceptionally high compliance with mandatory face coverings on board our services and we know that the vast majority of adults in Ireland are vaccinated against Covid-19 and over two million booster doses have been administered,” the spokesperson said.
Passenger numbers are currently at about 70% of pre-pandemic levels on board Bus Éireann services.