Early morning and late night public transport proposed to allow more shopping hours

Christmas decorations hanging on Henry Street in Dublin today, as retailers prepare for a different kind of shopping season during Covid (Photo: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie)

Union says move would deliver safer access to cities and towns and make economic sense

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25 November 2020 | 0

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The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) has said a one-off bus and rail timetable could be created to allow the public more time during each day to do their Christmas shopping.

In a letter to the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, the NBRU said the move would deliver safer access to cities and towns, as well as making economic sense as it would allow retailers to operate over a longer span of the day.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said: “We simply cannot afford, or allow for additional retail patronage to attempt to overload buses and trains, potentially leading to confrontation, unnecessarily exposing workers and passengers to Covid-19 and possibly contributing to a phase III surge that would result in further restrictions being imposed upon society in the near future.”

He added that unions could assist in working towards an agreed interim widespread nightime service at short notice, stating: “This would facilitate some 24-hour and late night opening of retail in our cities, towns and shopping centres.”

O’Leary added the move would also allow workers to earn more by facilitating retail outlets to open for longer periods.

Primark bosses in the UK recently said that stores there could open 24 hours a day to deal with the demand in the build-up to Christmas. Meanwhile, Penneys (as the retailer is known in Ireland) has said it would “welcome” an extension in opening hours which will allow the retailer to deal with a “higher anticipated” number of customers, when its outlets are allowed to reopen on 2 December.

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