Watch: Shane Ross 'not ruling out' opening bus lanes during Dublin Bus strikes
Underfire Transport Minister Shane Ross has made a massive U-turn on his stance regarding opening bus lanes during Dublin Bus strikes after saying he “won’t rule it out”.
Mr Ross again refused to intervene in the industrial dispute between management and unions representing drivers, saying that he wouldn’t be seen as “having a soft touch”.
During the week Siptu announced that a further ten days of industrial action were planned for October, as crunch talks between Dublin Bus and its workers have failed to yield any positive outcome.
When previously asked about opening bus lanes to help ease the flow of the extra volume of traffic, the Transport Minister stated that it would be illegal.
However, yesterday he made a sensational U-turn saying that he wouldn’t rule out opening bus lanes to commercial vehicles.
“We looked at his very carefully and we’re still looking at this very carefully. I’m taking advice from both the gardai and from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
“I think the advice I’m getting, particularly from the RSA is that it might have really serious safety issues, particularly for fire services and for cyclists,” Mr Ross said.
“I’m not ruling it out- you realise I’d love to do it but the advice I’m getting is that there are serious safety issues and I have to take that into account,” he added.
Meanwhile, commuters facing the long route home share their feelings on the ongoing bus strike.
“I get the Dart to work everyday and this week has been a nightmare. There’s so many more new people getting on the trains are always jammed packed," Orla Shatwell (23), from Raheny told independent.ie.
“It’s been so stressful every morning because it feels like everyone has gone crazy. If the strikes go on, it is just going to get worst. I don’t know how bad but I really don’t want to be there when it finally goes off.
“I understand that the drivers have to deal with a lot, and I do think they deserve equal pay with the Luas drivers, but everyone else has to get to work too. It’s not fair for all of us to be held hostage.”
Galway girl Laura Surman (18) couldn’t get on the LUAS at Jervis because it was so packed.
“I’ve been unable to get on three Luas so far in the last 20 minutes, it’s crazy. I’ve never seen it so bad," she said.
“It was even worst this morning. I almost missed my stop because there were so many people cramped into the tram that no one could move. I only got off because I screamed at the top of my lungs to stop the driver from pulling out.
“The bus drivers aren’t winning any fans with these strikes. I know a bunch of students at UCD who didn’t come in Thursday or Friday. It was just too hard for them to get in. Things have been much worse this week. I think it’s because of the students being back at college.
“If they do it now up until Christmas, that will be it. They’ll have no one left on their side.”
Peter Robinson (23), from Raheny, said it was a bad day for anyone coming to Dublin.
"Everything has been packed. I live on the Dart line and it wasn’t half as bad last week as it is today," he said.
“I got on the Luas and I swear, it was like we’re sardines – you had to peel people off one another it was so crowded.
“I don’t know what the drivers hope to achieve with the strikes, they must have seen how pissed off everyone got at the Luas drivers. The same is going to happen here. People will just get fed up."
Dublin Bus users with monthly and yearly tickets are being offered refunds for every day lost in the strike.
But bus users who want to claim back costs for the disruption to their journeys and commutes will have to wait until the strike is called off and a deal done with unions