Monday 26 September 2016

Dublin City Council committee supports proposal to make Luas trams fully automated

Robin Schiller

Published 29/06/2016 | 16:39

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Luas (Stock photo)

A Dublin City Council committee has supported a proposal to make Luas trams fully automated.

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‘Luas Automated’- which was proposed by Fine Gael councillor Dr Paddy Smyth- was passed at the Council’s Transport Committee meeting earlier today.

The committee called on the new Minister for Transport, the National Transport Authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and TransDev to 'future proof' all new Luas rolling stock so that it is capable of being fitted with self driving software.

The motion comes on the back of several days of strike action taken by Luas drivers earlier this year, but Dr Smyth emphasised that the introduction would not mean staff would be let go from their job as drivers.

“The passing of the motion does not mean any drivers will be fired from their job and replaced by an automation.

“However, given the cost to the city caused by this strike in recent months, I feel it is my obligation, as a representative of those who were disproportionately affected, to point out that should the drivers choose to return to the pickets, we must look at all options of returning a functioning tram service in this city,” Dr Smyth said.

“One of those options is automation. But it is not a question of if we automate, but rather when we automate.

“This (Luas trams) is a very expensive piece of kit to be lying idle during 12 days of industrial action.

“It is not a proposal with which SIPTU can use to flex it's muscles in the opening act of post austerity industrial relations,” he added.

The Fine Gael councillor called on the Dublin trams service to follow examples in San Francisco, Lausanne and Zhengzhou.

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