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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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'Bear with us' says TII as it apologises for 'teething problems' with new Luas Green Line

The closure of the Sandyford park and ride, and the overcrowding further along the Green Line, have been criticised so far this year.

CONGESTED TRAINS AND reduced car park spaces are some of the problems that have faced Luas commuters as 2018 has got under way, campaigners say.

The Luas Cross City opened last month, with commuters reporting long waiting times following its introduction.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said it regrets any inconvenience which the “teething problems” with the new expanded line has caused to customers, adding:

We ask them to bear with us in the interests of providing a better service to the travelling public.

The problem appears to be particularly acute in Sandyford, with a reduced service going on towards Brides Glen, and the reduction of park and ride facilities at that stop exacerbating the problem.

luas map There are a further nine stops after Sandyford Source: Luas

Local Sinn Féin councillor Chris Curran has said that overcrowded trams is an issue affecting many of his constituents.

He said: “This is a serious issue that affects thousands of commuters and it has been brought to my attention by numerous constituents.

The current time period between trams means that more passengers are being crammed into trams. The result is that Luas trams are seriously overcrowded at peak times.

The below picture was taken at Glencairn Luas stop just before 7.50am yesterday morning. When a tram arrived, it was so full that very few of those waiting there could get on the train.

01ade855-b720-49a1-86e9-a5176f312e64 Source: Chris Curran

The next one shows overcrowding at the Ballally Luas stop in recent days.

cefd537d-a765-4ce2-ac76-e895a057aaf0 Source: Chris Curran

In November 2017, Minister for Transport Shane Ross announced plans for longer trams on the green line,  which would mean room for an extra 1,760 passengers per direction per hour at peak times.

Curran said that the Luas Cross City service should not have been rolled out without these new longer trams available.

“The people of Stepaside, Leopardstown, Carrickmines and Cherrywood deserve better than that,” he said.

Surveys last year from the National Transport Authority found that the green line is currently operating at capacity during peak times, with crowding common between the Balally and Ranelagh stops.

Its surveys suggest that some people aren’t using the Luas at these peak times due to the packed trams, as they are either unable or unwilling to board the trams.

The spokesperson for TII said:

We appreciate that there have been  some difficulties  in our scheduling due to teething problems, availability of trams and high ridership at peak times. We are constantly reviewing the service and we hope to make some minor changes which we expect will be helpful.

They said that a “noticeable change” won’t be obvious to customers until the rollout of the new longer trams, between the start of February and the end of March.

“In addition, further improvements to the timetabled services are  scheduled to be implemented by May 2018.  As part of these improvements, additional Luas services will operate to and from Brides Glen during peak hours,” the spokesperson added.

Park and ride

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond, meanwhile, has said that locals are very frustrated in the Sandyford area, as they suffer the knock-on effects of the reduction of 50 car park spaces at the park and ride facility there.

The Sandyford park and ride service was closed on Friday 5 January to facilitate works at the depot there.

Luas said that the works would go towards the maintenance of the new longer trams set to come into operation by the end of March.

Those works are set to be completed by September 2018, so the park and ride will be closed until then

Luas did issue notice of the change to the park and ride just before Christmas, but Richmond said it would have been short notice for anyone who hadn’t seen it and was returning to work last week.

Richmond said: “Since the closure of the Sandyford park and ride, I have been contacted by several frustrated local people who are suffering the knock-on effects of this… However, giving less than a week’s notice for these works during a holiday period is very frustrating for commuters.

These Luas customers have already been forced to endure increasingly congested trams over the last number of months and a little consideration to their commute would have been appreciated I am sure.

The senator urged Luas operator Transdev to work with commuters to make their daily journeys “hassle free” by, for example, harmonising the payment system in Sandyford car park with the larger one in Stillorgan.

In its statement to TheJournal.ie, TII said the closure of the park and ride is necessary to be able to maintain the new trams.

“These essential works are scheduled to  be complete in this Summer and the Park and Ride Facility will be reopened to our passengers as quickly as possible,” its spokesperson said.

We know these issues have affected our passengers and we sincerely  apologise for this inconvenience.

Read: Spending mornings waiting on a Luas you can fit on? No plans to alleviate pressure for busy Christmas period

Read: Rents for homes close to new Luas cross-city stops rise by 21%

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Sean Murray

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