Call to heed travel advice as restrictions on movement ease

Increase in breakdowns and traffic expected 
Call to heed travel advice as restrictions on movement ease

Traffic on the N40 north of the Jack Lynch Tunnel in Cork, earlier in the month. Levels are expected to rise as movement restrictions are eased from the 5km non-essential limit.

Car trouble could be a nuisance for unprepared motorists ahead of the ease in restrictions on movement tomorrow, while bus users have been urged to plan only essential journeys.

That is according to motoring groups and public transport chiefs ahead of the expected surge in both road and bus usage, now that the 5km limit for non-essential journeys has been extended.

Barry Aldworth of the AA said the organisation is encouraging motorists to be on the lookout for vulnerable road users and to take extra care when driving in the weeks ahead.

Motorists should also make sure their vehicles are safe to drive after potentially long spells of inactivity or minor road usage, he added.

Pre-emptive checks would ensure they can drive safely and reduce their risk of a breakdown — among the most important checks recommended by the AA are lights, mirrors, and tyres, according to Mr Aldworth.

"If you look back to June of last year, when we first went from a 5km travel radius to 20km from your home, our AA Rescue service saw a noticeable increase in breakdown callouts, with reduced car usage by many households in the weeks and months before having been a major factor in this. 

"As the Government once again begins to ease travel restrictions, we are preparing for a similar increase in both breakdowns and traffic volumes,” he said.

Bus Éireann urged passengers to plan only essential journeys and to be aware of the continuing 25% capacity limit on all public transport.

The firm said that for city and county services, it is operating to a normal schedule, but that with all second-level education resuming, some city and town services may see an increase in demand on morning and afternoon services.

With the full reopening of schools, the 7,000-route school transport system will be operating as usual, with substantially all post-primary services now at 50% capacity, the firm said.

Chief customer officer Allen Parker said that generally, buses and coaches are currently limited to carrying between 10 and 20 passengers, dependent on vehicle size.

“Public transport remains at 25% capacity and therefore should only be used for essential journeys. Throughout the pandemic, Bus Éireann’s services have been particularly important for frontline and essential workers in healthcare, retail, and food sectors reaching their places of employment. 

"While there is an extension from 5km to county-boundary travel from Monday, we ask everyone to consider whether their journey is really essential, to plan travel well in advance and to travel off peak."

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