Bus strike: AA warns commuters to 'plan ahead' for 'difficult day' on Friday
Tens of thousands of commuters are set to face two days of traffic chaos this bank holiday weekend as the 48 hour bus strike is due to begin on Friday.
"No matter how you plan to set off, leave plenty of time as traffic delays are expected to start a lot earlier than usual," Arwen Foley told independent.ie.
"Friday in particular is going to be a very difficult day for commuters."
Drivers at Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann have planned to take four days of strike action next month in a row over the privatisation of routes.
The first of this industrial action is scheduled to take place this Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, the start of the May bank holiday weekend.
Travellers jetting off on a bank holiday break and tourists returning home on either Friday or Saturday have also been warned to expect delays en route to Dublin Airport.
"The Swords road can be very traffic heavy at the best of times. But those heading to the airport should plan ahead and start off much earlier than usual," said Arwen Foley.
"The N7 Naas road can also expect additional delays."
The traffic mayhem is set to hit travellers nationwide, according to Ms Foley, who outlined a number of "black spots" that may be the worst affected by the bus strike.
"All the commuter routes to Dublin - from Louth, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford and Laois - will be extremely heavy.
"In Galway, the old Dublin road is expected to become quite congested but the Dunkettle interchange (located at the intersection of the N25 and the N8 in Cork) may probably be the worst of it nationwide."
A number of private bus routes servicing city and national routes are expecting a "surge in demand" ahead of the weekend strike. (Full list below)
"We have also received a number of queries in relation to the strike, especially for our Friday service," Director of Swords Express and Eirebus, Sinead Kavanagh, told independent.ie.
Carrying 3,000 passengers from the Swords area into Dublin city centre daily, this service travels through the Port Tunnel and stops at East Wall, the Convention Centre, Eden Quay with some services stopping at Merrion Square.
"We will have additional coaches on standby, essentially reacting to events. First preference will have to go to existing passengers but we will do our best to cater for everyone that needs it.
A spokesperson for Dublin Coach, which runs services from Dublin, Limerick, Kildare, Waterford, Kilkenny, Laois and Clare, said they had been receiving calls ahead of the strike "for the last week or so".
"We are operating our services as normal and we are advising passengers to book their seat online to guarantee a seat," the spokesperson told independent.ie.
"We run services every half hour on Fridays as normal so we hope that this will cater for the increased demand."
Other alternative travel options for commuters include walking to work if possible, utilising the Dublin Bike service or car pooling with colleagues.
However, AA's Ms Foley advises that whatever option chosen, being safe on the roads is of foremost concern.
"As with the Irish Rail strike, some might choose to dust off their bicycles but this is advised only if they are knowledgeable of and enforce the road safety rules. This includes stopping at red lights, wearing hi vis clothing and a helmet.
A garda spokesperson told independent.ie that bus lanes will still only be available for use by taxis and private bus services, as normal.
"We will be treating regular commuters using the bus lanes on Friday as a traffic infringement," the spokesperson said.
The second two-day strike is due to take place in two weeks time, on Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16.
Alternative bus services
Dublin Coach – Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Waterford, Clare & Dublin
City Direct – Galway City
City Link – Galway, Athlone, Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Killarney
Collins Coaches – Dublin to Ballybay, Carrick, Ardee, Collon, Slane, Balrath, etc
JJ Kavanagh & Sons – Kildare: Naas, Clane, Newbridge, Kilcullen. Waterford City, Carlow, Clonmel, Kilkenny, Limerick, Dublin City & Airport
Mathews Coaches – Dublin, Dundalk, Drogheda, Bettystown, Laytown
Swords Express – Swords into Dublin City
Wexford Bus – Wexford to Dublin City & Sirport, stopping off in various towns
Aircoach – Dublin, Cork & Belfast
Go Bus – Cork, Galway, Dublin City & Airport
McConnons – Monaghan, Clones, Castleblayney, Ardee, Collon, Slane, Dublin
Express Bus - Dublin