Transport | Staggering transport at peak times to ensure the greatest utilization of the road, rail, and bus network
To ask the Minister for Transport the extent to which transport is being staggered at peak times to ensure the greatest utilisation of the road, rail and bus network and improved safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government is strongly committed to providing all citizens with reliable and realistic sustainable mobility options, and public transport plays a key role in this. Initiatives such as Bus Connects and Connecting Ireland, as well as continued investment in active travel, are encouraging more people to migrate from their cars to more sustainable modes of transport.
All public transport services are designed to best meet the demand at all times of the day. The National Transport Authority, in conjunction with the various operators, are committed to designing public transport timetables to achieve this objective. At peak travel times, the NTA ensures a maximum frequency of service, subject always to the availability of key resources, i.e. drivers and vehicles.
While there have been changes to peoples’ work patterns post-Covid, with earlier peak travel times now than in early 2020, it remains the case that the majority of people will start and end their workdays within the same 1–2-hour periods each morning and evening. Compared to early 2020 however, we are seeing transit usage spread more evenly across the week. There has also been an increase in usage of public transport in the evenings and at weekends.
The NTA is therefore continually working with all operators to ensure the optimised deployment of resources to match changing demand patterns. This includes extending the provision of late-night public transport services.
It is essential however that services continue to be concentrated around peak travel times. If services were to be staggered more at peak times, it is highly likely that people would be unable to board buses, trams and trains. This in turn would lead them to turn to private car use as means of travel to and from work, which is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve with our ambitious plans for public transport.
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