Public transport use and traffic volume rebounds as services return to full capacity

Public transport use and traffic volume rebounds as services return to full capacity

A Luas on a busy O'Connell Street in Dublin's city centre as people start returning to their office or workplace for the first time in 18 months as the government continues to ease Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The number of people using public transport is at its highest levels since the start of the year. 

Bus and rail journeys are now at their highest levels in 20201 according to the latest transport bulletin released by the CSO. Recovering air travel is also visible in the 93% increase in passenger numbers at Dublin airport in September as compared to August 2021. 

Data collected from the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Road Safety Authority (RSA) shows that volumes of car traffic now stands at 91% of levels recorded in September 2019. 

The bounce back in national levels of transport since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions is also visible in Dublin where car traffic volumes are 90% of movement recorded in the same period.

Car traffic has still not returned to volumes seen before the pandemic but the divide is decreasing, according to CSO statistician Dr Nele van der Wielen. 

"Today’s figures from the CSO show that car traffic volumes have not returned to pre-Covid-19 levels but the gap between 2021 and 2019 figures is gradually declining. 

"Latest available data for the week beginning 27 September (week 39) show that the volumes of private cars in regional locations are 13% higher than in the same week of 2020, however, car traffic volumes are still 10% lower than the same week in 2019." 

There is also an uptick in the amount of new private cars licensed in Ireland when compared to 2020 with an 11% increase in September 2021 recorded. 6,354 new private cars were licensed in Ireland, compared with 5,747 the previous year. 

The return of public transport services to full capacity in September is also reflected in the latest transport figures. 

“Public transport services returned to full capacity from the beginning of September. This is reflected in increasing rail and bus journeys which are at their highest level since the beginning of 2021. 

"The total number of rail and bus journeys is now 70% of those taken in early March 2020 (pre-Covid-19),” said Dr Van der Wielen. 

Road deaths also decreased in 2021 compared to 2020 with 107 fatalities on Irish roads in the first nine months of the year. This compares to 114 road deaths in the same period in 2020, a decrease of 6%

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