Public transport trips at highest since pandemic began

Public transport trips at highest since pandemic began

The Central Statistics Office’s latest Transport Bulletin shows that the number of bus journeys outside Dublin was 90% of those taken in early March 2020, just before the first public health restrictions were brought in. Picture: Larry Cummins

The number of people using public transport has climbed to its highest level since March 2020, but still remains behind pre-Covid levels.

The Central Statistics Office’s latest Transport Bulletin shows that the number of bus journeys outside Dublin was 90% of those taken in early March 2020, just before the first public health restrictions were brought in.

In all, 3.7m public transport journeys — excluding the Luas — were taken in the week beginning April 24; the last time that many public transport journeys were taken in one week was the 3.9m journeys taken in the second week of March 2020.

The high number of public transport journeys came ahead of the move from the National Transport Authority (NTA) to drop the price of fares across the system.

The NTA said that passenger numbers have already risen on the back of the price reduction, which has seen fares fall 20%.

Elsewhere in the latest stats, the number of cars on the road are also at their highest level for some time.

The CSO said: “In Dublin and selected regional sites car traffic volumes increased by 34% between the first week of January and the last week of April.”

For the week beginning March 28, 2022, (week 17), car traffic volumes in Dublin were only 1% lower than the same week in 2019. 

There was also more heavy goods vehicle (HGV) traffic in the capital and selected regional sites in April 2022 than the same period in 2019, according to the figures.

Looking at airport travel, Cork Airport had 192,275 passengers in April 2022. Although this was significantly higher than 2020 and 2021 levels, it is still 9% below the passenger numbers for the same month in 2019.

Dublin Airport, which has been beset by staffing issues leading to long delays to get through security, also remains 15% down on 2019 passenger numbers.

There were 10,045 new private cars licenced in April 2022, along with 3,770 imported used cars; year-on-year, this was an increase of 22% for new cars and a 40% fall for private cars.

The CSO bulletin also highlights 11 road deaths in Ireland in April 2022; this compared to 18 in April 2021, seven in 2020 and nine in 2019.

In a separate publication, the CSO said that Irish residents took 5.7m domestic overnight trips in 2021, which was a decrease of 27% compared to 2020.

The total money spent on these trips amounted to €1.3bn, with people on holidays spending €998m of this.

CSO statistician Brendan Curtin said: “The figures provide information on the significant impact of Covid-19 on domestic and international travel by Irish residents throughout 2021.”

In 2021, domestic overnight trips decreased by 51.3% and international trips were down by 75.7%, when compared with 2019. 

In the fourth quarter of 2021, Irish residents took 1.6m domestic overnight trips, an increase of almost 40% on the same time in 2020.

The average length of stay for people on trips away in Ireland was 3.2 nights, compared to 7.7 nights for overseas trips.

Furthermore, there were almost 2.3m outbound overnight trips undertaken by Irish residents in 2021.

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