With public health listed as its ‘absolute priority,’ Bus Éireann has warned there can be no flexibility on overloading some Expressway intercity coachs.
Ireland’s national bus company is advising people to undertake only necessary journeys and to avoid, where possible, peak travel times on its Expressway routes, which includes the service operating via Macroom.
Intending passengers are urged to travel off-peak and check live feed for updates as Bus Éireann continues to provide live service updates on its Twitter feeds @expresswayIRE and @buseireann.
A spokesperson for the company reminded intending passengers that capacity on buses and coaches is ‘strictly limited to 50 per cent of total.’
The company said the problem is compounded by the fact that 64% of licenced coach and bus services are currently not operational, which means a substantially reduced capacity on intercity routes compared to pre-Covid-19 figures.
Eleanor Farrell, the company’s chief commercial officer, said, ‘We very much regret that, despite all of our available coaches and drivers being deployed, some people are not able to board Expressway services when they wish to travel.’
‘We realise this is disappointing, and also that it can be challenging for our drivers. No-one wants to leave people without transport.’
Figures provided by Bus Éireann confirm that more than 10% of services on their intercity routes have reported as full since the end of June:
With demand likely to increase, Ms Farrell asked people to ‘consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary, especially if they plan on joining a service mid-route.’
She said the Twitter feeds will advise if the coach is full on departure and asked people to consider travelling outside of periods of peak demand.
The busiest times are usually between the hours of 11am to 1pm and from 3pm to 7pm, with demand at its peak during the weekends.
Despite a 96 per cent drop in passenger numbers at the lowest point of lockdown, Expressway continued to provide an essential service to cities, towns and villages for essential workers and people who needed to access healthcare.
Passengers are also asked to note that since June 29th, wearing a face covering has become mandatory on Bus Éireann’s services.