PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICES are authorized to fill all their seats today for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
As part of the latest step in easing the remaining Covid-19 restrictions decided by the government yesterday, public transport can now operate at 100% capacity.
The National Transport Authority (NRA) confirmed that buses, trams and trains would return to full capacity and that seats would no longer be blocked to prevent people from being too close to each other.
The lifting of capacity limits coincides with the return of schools and higher education, as well as the reopening of offices next month.
The new public health measures allow non-essential employees to return to their workplace from September 20.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said “we need public transport because we are going to bring people back to offices and to university and they need a way to get in. “.
Since the start of the pandemic, public transport providers have been asked to limit their number of passengers to one quarter, half or three quarters of maximum capacity.
On July 19, the capacity was allowed to drop from 50% to 75%, which was in place until yesterday. The government advised people to “walk or cycle when possible”.
NTA chief executive Anne Graham said she welcomed “the Cabinet decision that public transport can now safely return to 100% capacity.”
“Face coverings remain mandatory, and I would ask passengers to be patient when getting on and off services and always treat transportation personnel with respect,” Graham said.
“We look forward to increasing passenger demand as confidence in the safety of public transport increases. “
She said the NTA “will continue to liaise with transport operators to monitor passenger trends and any challenges that may arise as we return to full capacity.”
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“The NTA would urge everyone to continue to be considerate of other passengers. If you are on a busy shift, continue to be alert to more vulnerable customers whose need for a seat may be greater than yours.
“As schools and higher education institutions return to on-site learning, we expect departments to get busier in the coming weeks. If you want to avoid busy services, our advice is to plan your trip in advance and avoid rush hours if possible.
Wearing a face cover on public transport is still mandatory and will remain a requirement even after October 22, when all other mask wearing restrictions must be lifted.
Dublin Bus is ask passengers use hand sanitizer when boarding, leave windows open for ventilation and give priority to the elderly, pregnant or disabled to sit downstairs.
On trains, pre-booking is still needed for certain Irish Rail services.