Bus Éireann advises of capacity pressures on certain Expressway routes ahead of August Bank Holiday

Services between Dublin and Limerick, Galway, Cork are particularly in demand
Peak travel times to be avoided are from 12 noon to 7.00pm and weekends

Bus Éireann, Ireland’s national bus company, is advising people intending to travel this weekend on its intercity Expressway routes to avoid peak times, as currently some services are unable to satisfy passenger demand.

“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, 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.”

Bus Éireann fully adheres to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid19, including limiting the capacity on buses and coaches to 50 per cent of total.  Expressway therefore has 8,000 seats available daily, compared to 16,000 before Covid19 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-Covid19 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.  We have tried to introduce measures to help customers manage and plan their travel,” continued Eleanor Farrell.  “We have live service updates on our Twitter feeds which are particularly useful to people wishing to travel from an intermediary stop.  We have expedited online seat reservation on routes between Dublin and Belfast, Cork, Donegal and Letterkenny, while holding a proportion of seats for people unable to book online.  We are working hard to deliver this capability across the network.  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.”

Of Expressway’s 18 routes, those currently experiencing greatest pressure at peak times are:

  • X4           Waterford/Dublin via Carlow
  • X8           Cork/Dublin Airport via Mitchelstown, Cashel
  • X12         Limerick/Dublin Airport via Nenagh, Roscrea, Portlaoise
  • 20, X20  Galway/Dublin via Athlone
  • 32           Letterkenny/Dublin via Monaghan
  • 40           Tralee/Cork and Cork/Waterford/Rosslare via Killarney, Macroom, Cork, Midleton, Youghal, Dungarvan, Waterford, Wexford
  • 64           Galway/Derry via Sligo


Online booking and seat reservation is now available on the X1 Belfast/Dublin, X8 Cork/Dublin and 30/32 Letterkenny, Donegal/Dublin routes.

Expressway has operated as a non-subvented service on 18 intercity routes throughout the lockdown, because of the need to provide transport for essential workers.  There are 22 hospitals served by Expressway and almost 250 communities for which Expressway has been the main public transport available since March 2020. 

“Covid19 has demanded a great deal of everyone in Ireland over the past four months.  Bus Éireann’s frontline employees have shown commitment and dedication in delivering our essential service all over the country.  When they prevent someone from boarding a coach, it is because they are working to protect everyone and in accordance with public health guidance.  We thank customers for their patience and understanding of the current pressures and encourage people to monitor the @ExpresswayIRE Twitter feed for live capacity updates,” Eleanor Farrell concluded.

Thursday, 30th July, 2020