Wednesday 23 August 2017

Dublin Bus strike: Trams, trains and long walks home in rain

It was extra-busy on the Luas Red line at Abbey Street as a result of the strike at Dublin Bus. Picture: Arthur Carron
It was extra-busy on the Luas Red line at Abbey Street as a result of the strike at Dublin Bus. Picture: Arthur Carron

David Kearns

Tens of thousands of commuters were forced to change their travel plans as the capital's bus staff went ahead with their threatened two-day stoppage.

Heavy traffic in Dublin city centre compounded the crowding on the DART and Luas services, as city workers sought to get home yesterday evening.

Avril Collins was forced to take the Dart home to Booterstown instead of her usual Dublin Bus. Picture: Arthur Carron
Avril Collins was forced to take the Dart home to Booterstown instead of her usual Dublin Bus. Picture: Arthur Carron

"It was so crowded today that I had to walk down a few stops before I found a station that wasn't packed," said Luas user Kevin O'Dwyer (22) from Kilnamanagh, in south Dublin.

Working in the heart of the city centre, Kevin said he had seen a lot of new faces on the tram line. "There was a lot of confusion at each of the stops as they tried to figure things out."

Irish Rail reported that all services were "very busy" throughout the evening and most Dart lines expected delays of more than 15 minutes.

Irritated bus user Aileen Griffin (22), heading home to Sandymount in the south of the city, told the Irish Independent she faced a 30-minute trek in the rain. "I don't live near the Dart or the Luas, so not being able to get a bus today has been a big pain."

A striking driver outside Donnybrook bus depot. Photo: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency
A striking driver outside Donnybrook bus depot. Photo: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

Another Dublin resident forced to take the Dart was Avril Collins (19), from Booterstown.

"I always take the bus because it stops right outside my house, so getting the train this morning was a new experience," she said.

"I was so afraid that something would go wrong that I practised earlier in the week."

But mother-of-two Emma Vealie (36) backed the strike action, saying that no complaining commuters had "walked in the shoes of the bus drivers".

Speaking to the Irish Independent, striking driver Maurice Coen (47) said that it was an extremely tough job at times.

He said many of his fellow drivers had experienced violent attacks on their vehicles and themselves during their time navigating the capital's commuter routes.

Threatened

"Drivers are threatened and bricks are thrown at buses. You should see the details of the numbers of windows that are repaired after being smashed," he said.

The 18-year veteran of the job said one passenger threatened him with an imitation firearm on the bus one night.

The man received a suspended sentence in court, he said. "I had to attend counselling and was out of work for three months. I was quite nervous going back to work. On my first day back, the man appeared at a bus stop and I had to allow him to travel," he added.

Irish Independent

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