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'This is vital' - almost half of Dublin Bus users not wearing face masks despite being compulsory

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A person wearing a protective face mask sits on a bus in Dublin (PA)

A person wearing a protective face mask sits on a bus in Dublin (PA)

Passengers must now wear face masks on public transport (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Passengers must now wear face masks on public transport (Owen Humphreys/PA)

PA

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A person wearing a protective face mask sits on a bus in Dublin (PA)

Just over half of Dublin Bus users are wearing face coverings, according to a study of Irish public transport services, despite the government making them compulsory.

Dublin Bus users ranked among the worst for covering their face in the National Transport Authority study, with 52pc wearing a face covering, up from 41pc on Monday.

As part of Phase Three of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, from Monday, the government has facilitated an increase in capacity on buses, trains, and trams from 20pc to about 50pc.

Following advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) changing to recommend face masks, face coverings were also made compulsory on all public transport services.

According to NTA, while compliance with the temporary legislation is "increasing significantly day-on-day", there are no services on which every passenger is following the rule.

On Bus Éireann commuter services in the Greater Dublin Area, compliance is running between 75pc on some services and 98pc on others. Three in four passengers on Bus Éireann city services in Cork and Waterford are wearing face covering, and while the rate in Limerick and Galway is much lower at 40pc.

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A person wearing a protective face mask sits on a bus in Dublin (PA)

A person wearing a protective face mask sits on a bus in Dublin (PA)

A person wearing a protective face mask sits on a bus in Dublin (PA)

In rural areas, Local Link customers have responded "particularly well" to the requirement for face coverings. Over 90pc of passengers on Local Link services in places like Donegal, Laois/Offaly, Waterford, and Longford/Westmeath/Roscommon are wearing face coverings.

Iarnród Éireann has reported that 60pc of passengers arriving and departing from Heuston Station are using face coverings, a significant increase on previous weeks. Dublin Bus has also seen an increase in passengers with some routes seeing 70pc of customers wearing face coverings.

On the Luas, morning and evening peak hour trams saw the majority of customers wearing face coverings, with the numbers lower in the evening hours.

Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, said that there is a high compliance on inter-urban services in other parts of the country too, with four out of five passengers wearing face coverings.

“I want to thank passengers who have taken public health requirements seriously and have worn face coverings on public transport,” she said.

“The feedback coming in from operators suggests that on the whole, passengers are wearing face coverings. This is vital for the increase in capacity to make sense from a public health point of view, so that more people can safely return to work.

“If others see you wearing a face covering, they will follow your example. In order to return to normality, we must all take personal responsibility at this time and prioritise the health and well-being of everyone, and that begins with wearing a face covering where social distancing is not possible.”

Online Editors