Public transport usage down 50% due to Covid-19 pandemic


While the number of journeys being taken by bus and rail is increasing, the overall level is still more than 50% lower than prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While public transport numbers continue to drop, HGV, car and bicycle figures are on the rise according to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The CSO Transport Bulletin captures the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on traffic volumes and the number of journeys taken on public transport. This bulletin is compiled using data collected by the Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the Road Safety Authority, the National Transport Authority, Dublin City Council and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

The data reveals that the number of cars on Irish roads has risen significantly since Covid-19 restrictions were eased, even though this growth was slowed by the recent local restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly.

The key findings in the report include the following:

  • The pace of recovery of road traffic volumes for cars and HGVs to pre Covid-19 levels continues to outstrip that of public transport passenger numbers
  • Traffic counter data shows that traffic volumes for the week commencing August 30th were 15.7 per cent lower in regional locations and 18.9% lower in Dublin than the same week in 2019
  • The volume of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in 2020 have exceeded 2019 volumes since June in Dublin and for nine of the last 11 weeks at regional locations
  • There have been 13 more fatalities on Irish roads in the first eight months of 2020 in comparison with the same period in 2019
  • Cycle counter data for Dublin city shows an increase of 9.4 per cent in the volume of cyclists during off-peak hours in August 2020 compared to August 2019

Commenting on the findings, statistician Olive Loughnane said: “The number of passenger journeys on public transport has dropped dramatically since the start of the Covid-19 crisis with journeys by rail most severely hit. Public transport volumes are recovering at a much slower rate than road traffic. It is noteworthy that the volume of bicycles during off-peak hours was 9.4 per cent higher in August 2020 compared to August 2019.”


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