The National Bus and Rail Union say HSE staff have been left behind at bus stops as capacity reduces to about 18 passengers. NBRU is calling on public transport providers to have designated hospital buses for HSE staff, as services are under pressure.
According to the union, nine routes serving Dublin hospitals are frequently full within three stops of starting the service. The 13 bus is at capacity before Clondalkin Village and the 40 before Neilstown, so neither can serve James’s Hospital. The 151, 27, 65, 77a and 150 all reach capacity before reaching Crumlin Children’s Hospital, the Coombe or Tallaght Hospital.
NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary says health workers are unhappy with the situation. He said that a number of HSE staff have been complaining themselves through social media. NBRU are in talks with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Dublin Bus as they look to putting designated busses at these “pinch points”.
The NTA reiterate that public transport should only be in use for essential journeys. Reduced capacity levels on public transport remain in place, causing pressure on some services.
Public transport capacity is restricted to 25%, to come in line with the Government’s living with Covid-19 Level 5 plan. This is making some services come under severe pressure in some instances.
Morning Times When Bus Routes Are Most Affected
The biggest strain on the service appears in the mornings time and NTA chief executive Anne Graham thinks returning schools will likely give rise to additional pressure.
“We are anxious to make sure that customers are aware of the situation. NTA is asking people to avoid travelling at peak times and only to use public transport for essential purposes. Nobody wants to see a situation where essential workers, such as those on the healthcare frontline, cannot get on a bus. We continue to encourage people to walk or cycle where possible.
People with no alternative to public transport should “expect their journey to take longer and plan ahead accordingly”.
“And of course, wear a face covering while using public transport.”