Irish Government must be 'crystal clear' on Christmas travel, warn transport union

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Irish Government must be 'crystal clear' on Christmas travel, warn transport union

A union has called on the Irish Government to be "crystal clear" with people using public transport in the run up to Christmas and over the holidays. 

The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, made the call after it was revealed Department of the Taoiseach officials are set for discussions about how to handle public transport during the festive season after a busy first weekend following the reopening of the hospitality sector. 

The news follows Irish Rail's announcement on Monday that pre-booking will be mandatory on all intercity services between December 18 and January 6, when inter-county travel reopens under the Government's Plan for Living with Covid-19.

“The Government must be crystal clear with people across Ireland how public transport will operate in the coming weeks so that we continue to do everything possible to fight this deadly virus at what is likely to be a busy time," commented Mr Cortes.

“The only real way to do that is to stress the importance of managing passenger numbers and maintaining social distancing, as well as a rigorous cleaning and sanitising regime. That will be true on buses as much as trains. 

“Pre-booking on our railways is welcome but those wishing to travel must also be aware that services will be running below normal levels due to Covid restrictions. Properly managed, and avoiding peak times, I have no doubt that travelling by train to see family and loved ones will be a safe way to do so. 

“Rightly there is concern around the increased use of buses given the blanket closing of the hospitality sector at 11.30pm. I’d urge Ministers to think carefully about how we keep our buses safe for staff as well as passengers given the measures in place. 

“Safety for our members as well as the travelling public remains our number one priority. There’s time to get this right but the Government and travel companies must act now.”