New fines of up to €600 for abuse of Luas workers
ABUSIVE passengers who spit at Luas ticket inspectors face fines of up to €600 under new by-laws.
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) has also introduced new rules which will allow inspectors to demand proof that a ticket was purchased either on a tram or platform, with fare-dodging passengers facing the prospect of a day in court.
Yesterday it emerged that 140 people were taken to court last year for refusing to pay a fare and for anti-social behaviour on the Luas tram system, which carries up to 80,000 people a day in Dublin.
But operator Veolia also revealed that the number of public-order incidents across the network rose last year, with 970 cases reported, compared to 870 in 2010.
Most (75pc) occurred on the red line, which runs from the Point depot to Tallaght, with the remainder on the green line from St Stephen's Green to Bride's Glen in Loughlinstown.
Some 128 threats were made against staff, particularly ticket inspectors who were spat at and subjected to racist abuse.
Veolia has been forced to put security guards on red line trams from 10am until the last tram as a deterrent.
"We have looked through the by-laws and made changes," a Veolia spokeswoman said.
"Revenue-protection officers (ticket inspectors) will often stand up at meetings and say they've been spat at and subject to racist abuse.
"Anti-social behaviour is on the increase in Dublin and is not particular to Luas."
Figures released by the company also show that 67 members of the public were threatened on a tram last year, compared with 44 in 2010.
New by-laws set out a range of offences which can incur fines of up to €600, including spitting "in, at or from" a tram, being drunk, smoking or taking a bicycle on board.
They also include rules where ticket inspectors can demand the production of a valid ticket from a passenger on a tram, leaving a tram or standing on a platform after disembarking. Those without tickets must pay a fine of €45.
Some 29.4 million people used the Luas last year.