Source: Sam Boal
STAKEHOLDERS IN THE Luas Cross City service have said they will conduct a review of signalling in and around O’Connell Bridge after a new longer tram caused issues this morning.
The new trams are longer than the width of O’Connell Bridge and one tram saw its rear carriage protruding out into traffic on Dublin’s south quays this morning.
The longer 55-metre tram can carry up to 380 passengers, more than the current capacity of 320, and are due to be officially introduced before the end of March.
Luas operator Transdev is trialling the new service ahead of that and this morning’s running of the 7.47am tram from Bride’s Glen caused problems once it got to the junction at O’Connell Bridge.
Because the tram is longer than the bridge, the longer Luas has to proceed straight over O’Connell Bridge from Westmoreland Street without stopping on the bridge.
This did not happen this morning and Transport Infrastructure Ireland has now said signalling will likely have to be changed at the junction.
“We will conduct a further review of the signalling arrangement and optimisation settings with Dublin City Council,” TII said in a statement this afternoon.
We are running trams only occasionally in the morning peak to ensure that the city gets a chance to get used to them. We will continue to work closely with all the stakeholders, particularly DCC and the National Transport Authority to ensure traffic signals are optimised and that disruption to all those travelling in the city is kept to a minimum as the system settles in.
Speaking after today’s problems blocked traffic on the busy quays, Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said the ongoing issues with the new Luas Cross City are eroding public confidence in the service.
“It is the latest in a stream of farcical incidents that have all been well-flagged in advance yet responses have been lethargic at best, if existent at all,” he said.
Since the launch of Luas Cross City we have seen reduced frequency across the Green line, overly congested trams to the point that safety concerns were raised, the inability of commuters many of whom have prepaid tickets to even get onto to trams and absolute traffic carnage across much of the city centre on a daily basis.
Fianna Fáil’s Dublin spokesperson John Lahart TD also said that these issues were predictable:
The situation over the past 48 hours was predicted, it was warned that this would occur and yet the Minister for Transport ignored his duty to provide safer conditions for all road and transport users.
“A reasonable resolution must be found to this chronic congestion and must involve adequate input between all stakeholders operating in the city centre,” he added.
Lahart said that all parties will need to devise a solution before the longer trams are fully introduced next month, he explained the challenge they face:
“The tram will be longer than the width of O’Connell Bridge which means that when it passes over O’Connell Bride it actually has to clear it in one go. ”
“They estimate that the minimum crossing time is 55 seconds, the maximum crossing time is 90 seconds. Now at peak, a longer tram will cross every three minutes, if it takes 90 seconds, a minute and a half, that tackles 90 seconds for all the buses and cars and bikes coming off the four quays, to make their movements.”