Tuesday 22 May 2018

City traffic brought to a standstill by Luas - before it even opens

Luas driver team leader and incident manager Philip Eyre changing the points manually at the top of Dawson Street / St Stephen’s Green. Photo: Frank McGrath
Luas driver team leader and incident manager Philip Eyre changing the points manually at the top of Dawson Street / St Stephen’s Green. Photo: Frank McGrath

Ryan Nugent

Rush-hour commuter chaos is anticipated in Dublin city after two traffic-halting pinch points were identified during a trial run of the cross-city Luas.

The trial run - which took place on Thursday morning - was conducted to mimic expected traffic when the new tram line operates on a weekday for the first time, starting on Monday.

The two pinch points caused traffic to come to a standstill for almost a minute as the tram passed.

The first caused a 40-second standstill along the quays as the tram travelled across O'Connell Bridge, with the second located at College Green causing a halt for 50 seconds.

It's understood the knock-on effect meant that a number of Dublin Bus drivers were not able to complete their shift in time - leading to overtime hours.

Last-minute meetings have been held between all interested parties to resolve the issue, before the line - which has been five years in planning - is opened.

A spokeswoman for the council said: "Dublin City Council is aware of these issues and is in constant touch with Dublin Bus. Daily conference calls are being undertaken with Dublin Bus, Dublin City Council, the Luas operator [Transdev] and An Garda Síochána."

A Dublin Bus spokesman said both their company and the Luas were working closely together to try to ensure minimum disruption for commuters.

He said meetings between the groups were held on a weekly basis.

"We have worked closely with stakeholders since the planning stage began over five years ago," he said. "This process of engagement was to ensure minimal disruption for customers and the public who travel through the city centre on a daily basis.

"These meetings addressed upcoming works and areas affected by them while also discussing, and amending if necessary, traffic management plans. This process has ensured that there is adequate warning of changes to routes and stops, which in turn is passed on to customers in a timely fashion."

Disruption

He added: "As the Luas Green Line extension launches tomorrow, Dublin Bus will continue to work closely with Luas and other stakeholders.

"On Monday, Dublin Bus will be represented in the Luas control room and representatives of Luas will be in our central control to ensure the efficient operation of both services and to help minimise any potential disruption."

Luas operator Transdev was not available for comment.

The line is set to officially launch at 2pm today and will travel from St Stephen's Green all the way across the city. The final stop will be at Broombridge in Cabra.

Irish Independent

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