Public transport customers are responding positively to the requirement to wear face coverings, with up to 90% compliance on some services.
Last week the Government announced that as part of Phase Three of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, and with demand growing steadily, capacity on buses, trains, and trams was to increase from 20% to about 50% from Monday, 29th June.
In conjunction with this move, face coverings would be compulsory on all public transport services. Operators have been tracking customer response, which so far has been very encouraging.
On Bus Éireann commuter services in the Greater Dublin Area, compliance is running between 75% on some services and 98% on others. Three in four passengers on Bus Éireann city services in Cork and Waterford are wearing face covering, and while the rate in Limerick and Galway is lower at 40%, it is increasing significantly day-on-day.
In rural areas, TFI Local Link customers have responded particularly well to the requirement for face coverings. Over 90% of passengers on TFI Local Link services in places such as Donegal, Laois/Offaly, Waterford, and Longford/Westmeath/Roscommon are wearing face coverings.
Iarnród Éireann has reported that 60% of passengers arriving and departing from Heuston Station are using face coverings, a significant increase on previous weeks. Iarnród Éireann reminds its customers about the requirement through several channels, including its in-station PA system as well as in booking confirmation emails.
Dublin Bus has also seen an increase in passengers following the rule, with 52% of customers covering their faces as of today, up from 41% on Monday, and with some routes seeing 70% of customers wearing face coverings. Signage on doors reminds passengers of the mandatory rule before they board the bus.
On the Luas, morning and evening peak hour trams saw the majority of customers wearing face coverings, with the numbers lower in the evening hours. While we will be seeking to increase compliance with some segments of customer base on the Luas, the progress made so far is encouraging.
There is a high compliance on inter-urban services in other parts of the country too, with four out of five passengers wearing face coverings.
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, said: “I want to thank passengers who have taken public health requirements seriously and have worn face coverings on public transport.
“The feedback coming in from operators suggests that on the whole, passengers are wearing face coverings. This is vital for the increase in capacity to make sense from a public health point of view, so that more people can safely return to work.
“If others see you wearing a face covering, they will follow your example. In order to return to normality, we must all take personal responsibility at this time and prioritise the health and well-being of everyone, and that begins with wearing a face covering where social distancing is not possible.”