Cllr Shay Brennan at the Dundrum Luas stop. He says Luas users are at breaking point
Cllr Shay Brennan at the Dundrum Luas stop

The Luas fiasco is heating up with calls for alternative transport for Green Line users during rush hour.

It comes as new longer trams that were introduced last December to deal with the extra demand for the service were withdrawn last week due to technical issues with their batteries.

Green Party Deputy Leader and TD for Dublin Rathdown Catherine Martin told Dublin Gazette that commuters are having to allow several packed trams go by before they can board, and people are at breaking point.

“The situation for commuters is going from bad to worse. The latest announcement will aggravate and compound commuters’ frustration and anger.

“I have been inundated with complaints received from constituents who are exasperated with the current quality and reliability of the Luas service.

“Commuting at peak times is a nightmare for Luas passengers due to overcrowding, delays, and the repeated failures of the Real Time Information displays and debit card machines.

Deputy Martin added the government should have been more prepared.

“The Minister for Transport has referred to these issues as teething problems, but it is now over three months since the cross-city Luas was launched and these problems are getting worse day by day.

“This botched roll out of the cross-city Luas has resulted in a protracted public transport fiasco which could have been avoided.”

Deputy Martin is urging the Government and the National Transport Authority to put on extra buses for Green Line commuters during peak times until the “growing problems with this once reliable service are resolved.”

“Buses should be provided for commuters where trams are consistently delayed or too full, until the problems in respect of this service once celebrated for its reliability and quality are resolved.

“In the long-term commuters’ confidence needs to be restored in the Luas as a matter of priority, and I would call on the Minister for Transport to tackle the problem effectively.”

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail Representative in the Dundrum area, councillor Shay Brennan, has called on the Transport Minister to publish details of the service level arrangement between Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Transdev.

He said: “The current Luas operator is contractually obliged to meet key performance metrics or face fines.”

Cllr Brennan added the 90,000 daily Luas users have been suffering increased delays, cancellations and overcrowded trams.

“Luas users have a right to know what these performance metrics are, whether the current degraded service meets these minimum requirements and whether any penalties have been levied on the operator.

Reacting to the comments, Minister Ross told Dublin Gazette: “Last Thursday, I intervened and convened an urgent meeting of all stakeholders – TII, NTA, Alstrom and Transdev – to discuss what caused the current problems with Luas delays and how best to swiftly address them.

“I informed all stakeholders that what Luas passengers are currently experiencing falls far below the standard any Minister for Transport would expect and, indeed, would demand from them.

“I was assured that everything possible is being done to alleviate the situation. I have insisted on being updated daily until the situation is resolved.

“I absolutely agree with distressed Luas passengers that the difficulties they currently face travelling on the Luas at peak times is intolerable and cannot continue.

“I would like to thank Deputy Martin for her suggestion that additional buses should be put on at peak time Luas lines for commuter use.

“However, she may not be aware that his was done last Thursday by the NTA and just five people transferred from the Luas platform to the bus.

“Obviously this is not a solution, as it seems the vast majority of commuters would prefer to use the Luas to get to their destination.”