Last week was the busiest of the year for taxi app Free Now, as lockdown restrictions eased across Ireland.
The ride-hailing app said it saw a 75 per cent surge in booking requests week-on-week.
Sunday morning between 1am and 2am was the busiest hour of the week on the app, with almost two requests every second.
“Saturday was the busiest day on the app and demand was up 53 per cent between 5pm-6pm, showing that Dubliners were either laden down with Penneys bags after a coveted shopping appointment or had arranged a long-awaited garden get together with friends,” the company said.
Free Now said the return of personal services such as hairdressers and shopping-by-appointment from May 10th led to the record levels of ride-hailing requests, with Saturday accounting for 23 per cent of the total.
The company said week-on-week ride-hailing requests surrounding “the Penneys areas” in Blanchardstown, Liffey Valley, Dundrum and Dublin city centre were up 17 per cent, as 275,000 Penneys appointments were booked by shoppers last week.
Free Now said trips to scenic hotspots in Dublin were also popular, with a 28 per cent week-on-week increase in ride-hailing requests to popular destinations such as Malahide, Portmarnock, Sandymount, Howth and Sandycove.
Trips to the Phoenix Park area were also up 22 per cent from the previous week, which the app said were largely driven by the reopening of Dublin Zoo.
Like so many sectors across Ireland, the transport sector and specifically taxi drivers have been impacted significantly by the Covid-19 pandemic
Niall Carson, general manager of Free Now Ireland said: “After an extended period of national lockdown, it is reassuring to see our society opening back up in line with government guidelines since May 10th.
“Free Now is committed to providing safe and convenient transport for consumers as further restrictions lift in the coming weeks and hospitality and retail begin to thrive throughout the summer.
“Like so many sectors across Ireland, the transport sector and specifically taxi drivers have been impacted significantly by the Covid-19 pandemic, with national mobility levels down to some of their lowest on record in the past year.
“Taxi drivers have played an incredibly important role in keeping the nation moving since the pandemic began – and with a 75 per cent increase in trips since the easing of restrictions earlier this month, we are confident that they will continue to be part of the fabric that supports our emergence from the pandemic and our national reboot.”
Free Now said it predicts that bookings will continue to rise as further Covid restrictions are set to ease in June, with the return of hotel stays and outdoor hospitality.