Covid 19 impact: Plunge in rail, bus and air transport 

Car traffic across Ireland has fallen to a minimal extent compared with last year, while freight volumes have increased.

Transport statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that by July 12, car volumes on roads outside Dublin were 16.1% lower than at the same point in 2019, while in Dublin the figure was 20% lower.

Since June 28 the volume of heavy goods vehicles has actually increased on those seen 12 months previously at selected sites, suggesting that the trade economy appears to be functioning despite the viral threat.

That trend had begun just before the first phase of lifting lockdown restrictions began on May 18, the CSO says.

Instances of road fatalities are also up on the same period for 2019, with 73 deaths recorded thus far in 2020 compared with 70 people having lost their lives 12 months ago.

However, the pace of recovery of public transport numbers is a deal lower than that of private vehicles, with rail journeys having been hit particularly hard, as services struggled to implement socially distant travel and commuters shied away from what were perceived as possible viral hotspots.

Olive Loughnane, CSO statistician, said the new figures show clearly the “significant influence” that Covid-19 has had on traffic volumes and travel in general since the beginning of the crisis in March.

In the week beginning April 12, traffic on rail and bus was more than 10 times less than the volume seen in the first week of March, although the CSO added that the Easter bank holiday may have contributed to this.

On rail transport, passenger numbers from April 5 were 97.2% lower than in the first week of March as the lockdown measures introduced took their toll.

Air travel meanwhile, has been decimated, with June representing the third consecutive month in which passenger numbers were down by at least 97% year on year.

The number of passengers through Ireland’s airports over the first six months of 2020 was 66.1% lower than the same period in 2019.

In the months since lockdown air traffic fell from 10.5m passengers to just 164,400 — a drop of 98.4%.

Less than 1,000 people travelled through Shannon and Kerry airports between April and June, according to the figures.

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