WATCH: Public transport returns to 100% capacity in Limerick

THERE was a trickle, rather than a deluge of people this morning as public transport returned to 100% capacity in Limerick for the first time since March 2020.

Ever since the onset of the pandemic, notices have been placed on some seats requesting people do not sit down in order to facilitate social distancing.

Initially, only the most essential journeys were allowed as transport providers in Ireland operated at 25% capacity, before restrictions were lifted last summer to allow buses and trains travel at half capacity.

However, a surge in Covid-19 cases in the winter-time saw capacity cut to a quarter once again.

But following An Taoiseach Micheal Martin's announcement last night that Covid-19 restrictions will be unwound in the coming weeks, travel providers were once again allowed to operate at full capacity.

From start of service this morning, this came into effect. Here in Limerick, many customers took advantage of this.

Sarah Cunneen, who dropped children at school in Mungret said: "We have to return to normal at some stage. I just hope people continue to wear masks. We are not out of this pandemic yet, hopefully we will be sooner rather than later. But we need to continue to take every precaution possible."

Eilish Leahy had a longer journey - heading to Killarney to visit her father's grave.

She admitted she is anxious about buses returning to full capacity, saying: "It means you have to sit beside someone you don't know. I find the ventilation on the buses is not up to scratch."

Noel Hayes had an appointment at University Hospital Limerick, and said: "The bus wasn't that bad. It wasn't too busy. There were a few schoolkids over the schools starting. But it felt safe. Everyone was wearing a mask. Some people were sitting on the seats with their legs up!"

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