It’s been confirmed that the Nitelink will return next week if reopening goes ahead as planned.
The Transport Minister Eamon Ryan confirmed the return of the service in a statement this afternoon.
The National Transport Authority had originally said there were no plans to reintroduce the Nitelink when restrictions eased on October 22nd; however, that decision has now been reversed.
“The restoration of Nitelink will provide public transport in Dublin on weekend nights into the early hours of the morning,” said Minister Ryan.
“While government still has to make a final decision on reopening after considering public health advice, we want to be ready to provide a service when the night-time economy reopens.”
Dublin Bus CEO Ray Coyne said the return of the service will be a positive step forward and good for business, customers, and the city.
The Nitelink will provide a service across 16 routes in the Greater Dublin Area.
It will complement the three 24-hour routes that are already in operation – the 39A, the 41 and the 15.
More 24-hour services are due to be rolled out as part of the BusConnects plan.
"Very good news"
However Fianna Fáil TD for Dún Laoghaire, Cormac Devlin, says he understands arrangements are being finalised to bring back the Nitelink in line with restrictions being eased.
He says this will be good news for students and hospitality workers.
"The indications from the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority is that they are going to reinstate the Nitelink services from Friday the 22nd of October.
"So it's very good news for workers and indeed customers, who want to avail of the night-time economy."
Great news - I understand arrangements are being finalised to bring back the #Nitelink in line with Covid restrictions being eased
This is great news for students & hospitality workers. Thanks to everyone who supported the campaign to get the #Nitelink back @UCDSU @LVADublinPubs pic.twitter.com/f6CCSmX4dQ
— Cormac Devlin TD (@CormacDevlin) October 14, 2021
Deputy Devlin says he believes this is the right move.
"I think the reality is the department, and indeed the NTA, realised that having a late night bus service from the end of November isn't really sufficient if easing of restrictions happened at the end of October.
"There would be no option for people to get home, apart from taxis which wasn't going to be sufficient for - potentially - the volume of people who were availing of night-time economy activities.
"I think the department, and indeed the NTA, have come to their senses.
"They realised that there needed to be another option, I welcome the fact that they have put it on earlier than planned".
But he says this will depend on the re-opening happening as planned.
"But obviously it's all predicated on the fact of the easing of restrictions, and how the late-night economy re-opens on Friday the 22nd.
"If there are changes to what we perceive to be a near enough relaxing of all restrictions on Friday the 22nd, then the resumption of the Nitelink service is linked to that.
"But I'm hopeful that we will have a night-time economy re-open on Friday the 22nd of October".
Additional reporting Michael Staines