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Gardai back up inspectors in Luas tram crackdown

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The crackdown is targeting those breaking the Luas by-laws, including fare evaders, those loitering or drinking at stops and intimidating other passengers.

The crackdown is targeting those breaking the Luas by-laws, including fare evaders, those loitering or drinking at stops and intimidating other passengers.

The crackdown is targeting those breaking the Luas by-laws, including fare evaders, those loitering or drinking at stops and intimidating other passengers.

GARDA officers are escorting ticket inspectors on the Luas as part of a blitz targeting anti-social behaviour.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Department of Social Protection and Luas security officers are also involved in the sweeps -- known as Operation Clean Tram -- that are being carried out on both the Red and Green tram lines.

The crackdown is targeting those breaking the Luas by-laws, including fare evaders, those loitering or drinking at stops and intimidating other passengers.

A hotline to the Department of Social Protection has also been set up to allow ticket inspectors to check the validity of a person's free travel pass.

Almost 1,000 reports of anti-social behaviour were recorded last year on the Luas, including incidents of racist and threatening abuse directed at staff with verbal abuse accounting for the bulk of the incidents.

Cases were up 11pc on 2010, with an average of around three incidents occurring every day.

Veolia Transdev, which operates the light rail system, said different sections of both the green and red lines were now being blitzed on a regular basis.

A spokeswoman said the new-style approach appeared to be working, but she added it was too early to specifically gauge the level of success.

Abuse

Veolia managing director Brian Brennan said: "Customer safety and satisfaction is the number one priority for us as an operator and operations like this serve to reinforce the Luas by-laws and ensure the Luas system remains safe and pleasant to travel on."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection said a number of exercises have been carried out to date.

"The department is providing direct telephone links for (ticket) inspectors during these exercises in order that they can immediately check the validity of the department's free travel passes produced by passengers in the course of these inspections and take appropriate action in the event that any are fraudulent," the spokeswoman said.

There were 970 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour on the Luas last year, up from 870 in 2010, and three-quarters occurred on the Red Line with the remainder on the Green Line.

Irish Independent