Bus Éireann warns of heavy demand on Athlone route this weekend
Bus Éireann has warned that it's expecting limited capacity on its services between Athlone and Dublin or Galway over the August bank holiday weekend.
The company said that, at peak times, some of its services are currently unable to satisfy passenger demand.
Among the services which may be oversubscribed this weekend are those on the 20 and X20 routes between Galway and Dublin, both of which serve Athlone.
Bus Éireann is asking people to avoid travelling at peak times where possible.
"While only seven per cent of our services overall have demand that exceeds capacity, the issue is more acute on certain routes," said Eleanor Farrell, Chief Commercial Officer for Bus Éireann.
"We recognise that the fact that it is a small minority of services that are oversubscribed is not much consolation for customers needing to access those routes.
"We regret the inconvenience being caused to some passengers and the challenge for our colleagues who are doing their very best to manage this situation."
The company is adhering to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including limiting the capacity on buses and coaches to 50 per cent.
Its Expressway services, therefore, have 8,000 seats available daily, compared to 16,000 before the Covid-19 restrictions.
Furthermore, most commercial operators have not yet returned to the road, meaning that total capacity available on many routes is much less than 50 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels.
Due to the 50 per cent capacity limit on all public transport, Government guidance is currently that public transport should only be used for "necessary journeys".
"Our drivers and inspectors are not in a position to assess whether someone’s journey is necessary or not," continued Eleanor Farrell.
"We would like people to take into consideration that their journey may prevent an essential worker reaching their place of employment, or someone attending a healthcare appointment.
"People may not be aware that morning services are seeing less demand, with the peak now arising between 12 noon and 7.00pm."
Ms Farrell said the company now has live service updates on its Twitter feeds which may be useful to people wishing to travel from an intermediary stop.
"Anyone who buys a ticket online but is unable to travel due to capacity restrictions is of course entitled to travel on another service or a full refund," she said.