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'It doesn't feel safe': There's been an increase in complaints about Luas overcrowding

Luas delays, breakdowns, and signal faults have become more frequent in recent months, according to passengers.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

A GROUP REPRESENTING rail users has said that although packed Luas trams are technically safe, it “doesn’t feel safe” to passengers.

Commuters who take the Green Luas Line have said that delays and serious crowding have been a problem all this week, with passengers saying significant amounts of time have been added onto their morning commutes as a consequence.

The problems are mostly on the Green Line, which was extended in November as part of the Luas Cross City project and created an additional demand for the service.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Transdev said that the Luas service “has received a significant increase in the number of passenger complaints”, with most of those complaints focusing on overcrowding and frequency of trams.

Dr Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland said that the Luas trams have been built to withstand weight much heavier than the maximum number of people who could be allowed on the trams, he said that when the trams are packed “it doesn’t feel safe, and that’s the most important asset on the ground”.

“If the tram has to stop suddenly, even if it doesn’t hit something, you will get thrown across the tram, people get hospitalised. And that’s the worry if the tram stops suddenly, people could get crushed up – remember the Luas stops quicker than a car in an emergency. It stops frighteningly fast.”

He said that when trams are packed, people can get agitated and no air conditioning and limited airflow can cause problems for people.

Since the recent increase in frequent delays, Gleeson said that there’s been “poor if no information” from Luas operators about problems.

“The Luas has gone from the best transport service in the city to just average.”

Among the complaints that passengers made this week about the service were delays in Luas trams arriving, a lack of information about how long delays would be, and several trams passing a station without being able to let anyone on.

Gleeson said there aren’t really regulations about how many people you can let on a train or tram.

“There isn’t really any strict regulation on how many people you can squish on. It’s kind of self-regulatory – if you stand on a platform and you don’t like it you don’t get on.”

But what’s happened the last few weeks, people trying to get out to Brides Glen, basically found the service doesn’t exist anymore frequency has disappeared. They’ve no choice.

He added that “tempers can fray” in these kinds of situations between passengers, particularly during rush hour.

Transdev has said that the issues raised in complaints are being addressed by the operator with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and National Transport Authority.

The customer experience will improve in the coming days and weeks and the introduction of seven 55-metre trams will see noticeable improvements to the service.

These 55-metre trams could be the longest in the world; the original Luas tram was 30m in length.

On Friday, it was announced that longer Luas trams have been withdrawn from service due to a fault in the system.

Green Party TD for Dublin Rathdown Catherine Martin said passengers’ patience “is at breaking point”, adding that there were “grave safety concerns and accessibility concerns for wheelchair users and young children”.

“This is further evidence that not only were the Government ill-prepared for the launch of the Cross-City Luas, but there appears to be no contingency plan in place. This has resulted in a protracted and ongoing fiasco which could have been avoided.”

Read: ‘We’re crammed into trams’: Serious delays on Luas Green Line

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