Journey numbers on buses and planes in May exceed pre-pandemic levels

Car numbers at various Dublin sites remain below 2019 levels, CSO transport bulletin shows

People are continuing to move about more – in the State and getting out of it – since the lifting of Covid restrictions; with bus journeys increasing by up to 24 per cent in places and passenger numbers at Shannon Airport 33 per cent higher than in May 2022. However, car journeys into Dublin are still below 2019 levels, with less sales of petrol and diesel, according to the latest CSO transport bulletin issued on Tuesday.

The bulletin revealed:

  • The number of bus journeys in Dublin continued to exceed pre-pandemic figures, with an increase of 8 per cent for week 21, the week beginning May 22nd, 2023, when compared to week 21 in 2019;
  • Luas journeys for week 21 increased by 28 per cent and 4 per cent in comparison to the similar weeks in 2022 and 2019 respectively;
  • The number of bus journeys outside of Dublin for week 21 of 2023 exceeded 2019 figures by 24 per cent;
  • At 293 million litres sales of autodiesel in April 2023, were 4 per cent lower than in April 2022, and 6 per cent lower than April 2019;
  • At 82 million litres sales of petrol in April 2023 were 4 per cent higher than in April 2022, but were 9 per cent lower than in April 2019.
  • In May 2023, the number of new cars licensed increased by 3,332 vehicles, some 47 per cent, when compared with May 2022;
  • The number of passengers handled by Shannon Airport was 33 per cent higher in May 2023 compared with May 2022, and 11 per cent higher than May 2019;
  • For Cork airport, figures show that the number of passengers in May 2023 was 29 per cent higher than May 2022 figures, and 10 per cent higher than those seen in the same month in 2019.

The CSO said data from Transport Infrastructure Ireland showed average weekly volumes of car traffic measured at selected sites in Dublin was still below 2019 levels.

There were 10,452 new private cars and 4,323 used (imported) private cars licensed in May 2023. Compared with May 2022, there was an increase of 47 per cent for new private cars, while used private cars were up 7 per cent.


Worryingly for road safety advocates, there were 20 fatalities on Irish roads in May 2023 compared with 12 in May 2022 and 11 in May 2019. Until 9am on Tuesday, 83 people lost their lives on the State’s roads. This was eight higher than the similar period in 2022, and 17 higher then the similar period in 2019. The killed included 20 pedestrians; 36 drivers; 13 passengers; two e-scooter users; 10 motorcyclists; one pedal cyclist and one pillion passenger.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist