Workers going through the turnstiles at a subway station cartoon.
Image: © mast3r/

Hybrid work causes surge in public transport usage

14 Jul 2023

The pandemic seems to be in the rearview mirror as hybrid workers say they’re embracing public transport for work and leisure purposes.

Workers returning to the office for several days per week as part of a hybrid work model are causing an uptick in Ireland’s public transport usage. That public transport usage here is now higher than it was pre-pandemic means Ireland is an outlier internationally.

The trend was highlighted by EY as part of its Mobility Consumer Index, an annual global study of more than 15,000 people. The latest edition of the index shows how people’s travel patterns have changed in the post-pandemic world.

More than half (52pc) of workers surveyed globally said they were engaged in some form of hybrid work. This is a significant increase from the 33pc who reported hybrid work pre-pandemic. One or two days of remote working per week with three or four days in the office is the most common hybrid model.

According to the index, workers are now prioritising reliability and convenience rather than hygiene – which was a concern for public transport users mid-pandemic. Just under two-thirds (62pc) of hybrid workers and students are currently using public transport for work on a monthly basis. Workers are also using public transport more during their leisure time.

There is also a generational divide when it comes to public transport usage, with younger workers driving the surge in public transport. Julia Ann Corkery, partner, EY Ireland Government and Infrastructure Advisory, said “The report highlights how Gen Z and Millennials increasingly choose public transport over private car travel. The cost-of-living crisis may be a partial explanation here, but trends and surveys indicated that these generations are also acutely conscious of their carbon footprint and more open to multi-modal transport.”

She added that the recent signing into law of the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 would pave a way forward for e-scooters to be used and regulated on Irish roads, meaning workers may soon be scooting to the office.

“More broadly, we have made significant in-roads in developing and investing in our public transport system over the last three years,” Corkery pointed out. She said that this increased investment and the introduction of reduced fares means public transport is now becoming a viable alternative to personal car usage for commuters.

“It is important that we maintain this momentum to improve access to education and employment and will ultimately enhance all of our lives in the long run.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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