by Bronagh Loughlin
Social distancing and mask wearing rules appear to have been ignored on a Bus Eireann D2 bus from Drogheda to Laytown earlier this week.
According to Bus Eireann travel regulations, 35 passengers are allowed onto the bus, provided they maintain social distancing and wear a mask.
However, as our exclusive picture taken from inside the D2 bus between the county Louth town and the East Meath village on Thursday afternoon show, this appears not to have been adhered to.
A passenger on the bus told Meath Live she was horrified at the situation, especially the overcrowding.
She revealed, ‘I was waiting at Scotch Hall in Drogheda to get a bus back home to Laytown with my ten week old baby son. Two buses drove past that I thought were already too full, I’m anxious enough about going on public transport with the baby during a pandemic, which is why did not flag either of the buses down.
‘A third bus came that had only three passengers on it so I felt it was safe and got on the bus. However, after getting on the bus I quickly began to feel anxious and unsafe.
‘After I got on, the driver continued to overcrowd the bus to the point where there was no social distancing. People were standing all around me and my baby, they were practically on top of us and the seats directly behind us were filled with people even though they should have been left free because they had yellow stickers on them informing people not to use them.
‘Not everyone was wearing masks either and the bus driver never asked them to put them on when they got on the bus.
‘When I was getting off the bus, at my stop, I spoke to the bus driver and he was extremely rude towards me, telling me that it is not his problem and that the buses are allowed to hold a capacity of 35 passengers once social distancing is taking place and passengers are wearing masks, however, this was not being done and there were certainly more than 35 people on it.
‘He told me I shouldn’t have gotten onto the bus if I felt I was putting myself and my son at risk, however, when I was getting on there were only three passengers so it seemed safe. I told him I was emailing Bus Eireann and sending them videos of this journey and he laughed in my face saying, whatever, and telling me not to use the service if I’m not happy with their rules and regulations.
‘I’m already paranoid about using public transport as it is but I have no choice as I don’t drive and need to use the service to visit my GP regularly for myself and my baby’.
Bus Eireann have been contacted for comment.