Traffic volumes rise in May as Covid travel curbs ease
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the volume of cars on Irish roads has been rising slowly since the start of the year after the move to Level 5 restrictions in December.
Volumes have been rising more rapidly since travel restrictions lifted in May, the CSO said.
The easing of travel restrictions is also reflected in the greater use of public transport and the CSO said the latest available data show the total number of rail and bus journeys are at their highest since the beginning of 2021.
The country-wide travel restrictions on May 10 changed from a 20km radius or anywhere within your own county to anywhere within Ireland.
The CSO said that car traffic volumes increased significantly in the week beginning May 10 compared with the previous week with an increase of 18% in car traffic volumes in selected regional sites.
Car traffic volumes in the week beginning 24 May were nearly twice as high in regional locations than in the same week of 2020, however volumes were still 17% lower than the equivalent week of 2019.
The latest data shows that for the week starting May 23, the total number of rail and bus journeys is 47.2% of those taken in early March 2020.
The number of bus journeys outside of Dublin in the same week is 53% of pre-Covid-19 levels, while the corresponding level for bus journeys within Dublin is 48.6% of pre-Covid levels.
The CSO data reveals that rail is the mode of transport that has been most severely hit since the onset of the crisis.
In the first week April 2020, the number of journeys undertaken by rail – which includes journeys on Intercity and DART services – was 97.2% lower than it was in the first week of March of 2020.
The CSO said that for the latest week under review, the number of journeys by rail was 62.8% lower than pre-Covid-19 levels.
Meanwhile, air passenger data shows a substantial fall in passengers handled by Irish airports due to Covid-19 restrictions.
While the number of passengers travelling through the main airports in April 2021 was nearly five times higher than it was in April 2020, the number of passengers using the main airports in April 2021 was still 96.1% lower than the same month in 2019.
The CSO noted that Knock airport was closed in April 2020 and from February to April 2021.
The total number of passengers handled by Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry airports in the first four months of 2021 fell from 5,941,763 to 543,429 when compared with the same period in 2020.