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Coronavirus Ireland: Transport chiefs consider plans to scale back bus and train services


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Plans for public transport timetables to be reduced to Saturday or even Sunday schedules are under consideration.

It comes amid an expected fall in demand for trains and buses as people work from home and practice social distancing.

It's understood the plans to potentially scale back bus and train timetables have been discussed at meetings between the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Department of Transport.

There is no set day for when timetables could be cut back and it would also be dependent on the expert advice being provided by the public health authorities.

There will be a public awareness campaign if and when it kicks in.

The aim is that rather than arbitrarily cutting individual train or bus times, the public could follow the set Saturday timetables that already exist.

The further-reduced Sunday timetables could be brought in if demand falls further.

Sources stressed public transport will continue to run so that people can travel to avail of essential services like shops and pharmacies and so that those who need to can go to work.

Other contingency plans involve ensuring there is cover at rail control centres if members of staff contract the virus.

The NTA is said to be meeting daily to consider the impact of the virus on the transport system. A statement from the authority last night said all public transport services continue to operate as normal throughout the country with the exception of a limited number of commercial operators.

It said that contingency plans are kept under constant review.

"Any actions being taken by the NTA and public transport operators will be guided by the National Public Health Emergency Team and the advice of the chief medical officer."

A spokesperson for Luas operator Transdev said a full tram service was in place and "we intend to keep the maximum service in operation. The service is however under continuous review".

Irish Independent