Bus Éireann is advising people to undertake only necessary journeys and to avoid, where possible, peak travel times on Expressway routes.
Expressway has 8,000 seats available daily, compared to 16,000 before Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. Furthermore, 64 per cent of licenced coach and bus services are currently not operational, very substantially reducing capacity on intercity routes from pre-Covid19 levels.
Bus Éireann is fully adhering to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and this means that capacity on buses and coaches is strictly limited to 50 per cent of total.
“We very much regret that, despite all of our available coaches and drivers being deployed, at the moment some people are not able to board Expressway services when they wish to travel,” said Eleanor Farrell, Chief Commercial Officer, Bus Éireann.
“Public health and safety is our absolute priority and there can be no flexibility on overloading coaches. We realise this is disappointing, and also that it can be challenging for our drivers. No-one wants to leave people without transport.
“Full services can be of particular concern to people wishing to travel from intermediate stops and we anticipate that demand may continue to increase,” continued Eleanor Farrell. “We want to encourage people to consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary and, especially if they plan on joining a service mid-route, to check the Expressway and Bus Éireann live Twitter feeds which will advise if the coach is full on departure: @expresswayIRE @buseireann
“It is also important to try to travel outside of peak demand. At the moment, the busiest times are from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm. There is more demand at weekends, especially Friday afternoons and Sundays.
“We very much appreciate the understanding and cooperation of customers and our staff as we manage demand through these unprecedented times and look forward to keeping people connected around the country,” said Eleanor Farrell.
Expressway services are run on a commercial basis by Bus Éireann. Despite a 96 per cent drop in passenger numbers at the lowest point of lockdown, Expressway continued to provide an essential service to cities, towns and villages for essential workers and people who needed to access healthcare. There are almost 250 communities throughout Ireland for whom Expressway is currently the only commercial bus or coach service.
Customer information is available on the Expressway website. The company warns that pre-purchased tickets through our website and ticket vending machines do not generally guarantee a seat. Coaches are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. A small number of seats are held for walk-up customers who may not have the option to book online, including those with free travel.
Wheelchair users can continue to contact Bus Eireann Customer Care to reserve a wheelchair space on a particular departure. Once the reservation is confirmed, the wheelchair space will be guaranteed on that departure.
Due to social distancing, bus stations also have reduced capacity for those waiting for departures. Bus Éireann asks that passengers do not arrive earlier than 15 minutes before their scheduled departure time, as it may not be possible to enter the station before then.
Since 29 June, wearing a face covering is mandatory on Bus Éireann’s services, and Terms and Conditions of Carriage have been amended accordingly. Drivers are required to wear face coverings during customer interactions, for example during boarding and alighting.