Thursday, November 25, 2021

Olivia Kelleher

A trade union is urging the Government to reduce passenger capacity on public transport amid a surge in Covid infections.

Siptu, which represents 4,500 transport staff, wrote to the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, on Wednesday over the issue.

In an interview on Newstalk radio, Siptu transport organiser John Murphy said it was vital that capacity is reduced following the huge growth in Covid cases.

“That is for the protection of the staff and the passengers alike,” he said.

“We have heard that there was talk about reducing the actual service over the next few weeks. We think that would be flawed because that would reduce the vehicles on the road and the vehicles will either be crowded or 100 per cent capacity, or very close to it.

“If there is a reduction in people travelling to and from work due to the restrictions then the present number of vehicles must be kept on the road so they are not crowded.

“At various times during the lockdown we have had 50 per cent and 75 per cent capacity on public transport. It worked at those times. People abided by it.”

Mr Murphy said overcrowded public transport was a fertile breathing ground for infections.

“We can’t have overcrowded buses and not expect to have overcrowded hospitals as well due to higher infection rates. We need to take a serious decision here for the winter.”

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