Car traffic rising as journeys on public transport remain below pre-Covid levels

Car traffic rising as journeys on public transport remain below pre-Covid levels

The CSO said that traffic on the roads is below pre-Covid levels, but is nearing parity.

Journeys on public transport remain below pre-Covid levels, as car traffic on the roads draws closer to the numbers seen before the pandemic.

In the week beginning 25 July, the number of public transport journeys were 80% of the number taken in the first week of March 2020, just before the first Covid restrictions were introduced, according to the latest Transport Bulletin from the Central Statistics Office.

The number of bus journeys in Dublin for that week was 78% of the level in week beginning 2 March 2020, compared with 87% for bus journeys outside Dublin and 82% for rail journeys.

However, an extra 800,000 journeys were made on Dublin Bus on the week beginning 25 July compared to the same week last year.

For bus journeys outside of Dublin, there were over 200,000 more journeys made in that same week compared to 2021 levels. However, they are still down 8% down on the same figure from 2019.

The statistics suggest that while restrictions lifting has coincided with public transport numbers being boosted significantly, they have still yet to reach levels seen before the pandemic.

It comes after public transport fares were cut by 20% in April. Recent data published by financial services firm Revolut suggested spending on transport from its customers rose from June to July by 6.5% for buses and 6.6% for train journeys.

Amid the growing pressure on households across the country due to the rising cost of living, the Taoiseach previously indicated that the 20% cut is likely to remain in place beyond this year.

The CSO said that traffic on the roads is also below pre-Covid levels, but is nearing parity. In Dublin, car traffic volumes were 12% lower in the last week of July 2022 compared to the same period in 2019. But, in selected regional sites, this was just 8% down on 2019 levels.

In that week, traffic volumes were almost identical to the number of cars on the roads in 2021 in Dublin and only slightly above 2021 levels in selected regional sites.

The amount of heavy goods vehicles on Irish roads is up, however, on pre-Covid levels. In Dublin, there are 5% HGVs on the roads, with a 3% increase regionally.

Last month, there were 15,078 new private cars and 4,118 used/imported private cars licenced in Ireland. This is a significant fall on the same month last year, a decrease in 25% for new cars and 26% for used cars.

The number of people who died on Irish roads in July 2022 was 11, the CSO said. This compared with 17 in the same month in 2021, 10 in 2020 and 8 in 2019.

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