Tuesday 20 February 2018

Dublin Bus Strikes: 'I thought it would be easy enough to get a tram but I was wrong'

Commuters crowd the Luas platform at Heuston Station due to the ongoing bus strike. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Commuters crowd the Luas platform at Heuston Station due to the ongoing bus strike. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Dublin Bus workers on a previous strike
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Day five of the Dublin Bus strike has brought more inconvenience for commuters in the capital.

Traffic volumes were higher at an earlier time of the morning than not they normally would be, but AA Roadwatch said levels of chaos and panic were lower than the first day of the strike, leading to an opinion that morning travellers were either not coming into town at all or have organised their travel plans to adapt to the strike.

Dublin Bike stands across the city were empty as more people used the free cycle scheme to cross town in the absence of the double deckers.

One punctured bike remained at the Heuston stand, giving commuters hope until they got close and saw it was useless to them.

And traffic seemed to moving more freely than in the early days of strike action.

“Traffic is getting heavier earlier in the day, but we have certainly noticed a difference between today and the first day of strike action,” said an AA Roadwatch spokeswoman.

“People seem to have made different arrangements with work or have opted not to travel on strike days,” she added.

But at Heuston station the effects of the bus strike were clearly visible again as crowds spelled out of the main station and tried to get Luas trams to the city.

Wave after wave of workers from commuter towns in Kildare found themselves stranded on the Luas platform because the trams stopping at them were packed to capacity and could not take on more people.

Molly Claffey (18) from Clonsilla said she usually gets a bus into town to go to college.

“I didn't get the train in today because I thought it would be claustrophobic, so my dad offered to drop me here at the Luas stop in Heuston instead.

“I thought it would be easy enough to get a tram but I was wrong. Three of them have gone by now and I couldn't get on any of them because they are crowded,” she explained at 8.20am, just as another surge of commuters spilled from the main station onto the Luas platform.

“I’m going to get a taxi now. The strike is costing me money and I wish it would get sorted out soon,” said Molly, whose patience with the bus drivers was beginning to wear thin.

Two commuters who travel daily from Portarlington also found themselves stranded on the Luas platform for the want of a bus.

Arlene Foy (32) usually gets the 145 from Heuston to the city. Her friend Gemma Lawlor (34) gets the number 90.

“Today we have to rely on the Luas because of the bus strike. We are already late because the Portarlington train was delayed by ten minutes, and now we can't get on a Luas and there are no buses,” said Gemma.

Arlene said that while they sympathise with the bus drivers, the commuters are the ones suffering the inconvenience.

Kevin Conroy (37), a wheelchair user, travels by train from Sallins to Heuston, and then gets a 145 to college in the city.

But on the Luas platform he was finding it impossible to travel.

“On the first day of the bus strike there were Luas staff here who helped me onto a tram, but they’re not here today and I've had to let three trams go by because I couldn't get onto them,” he said.

“The bus strike is a disgrace. Shane Ross would want to get involved in sorting it out because the commuters are suffering,” he added.

There was also evidence of clever commuters using different ways to get around town.

Google worker Daniel O’Farrell (22), was making use of his skateboard to get to work from Islandbridge.

“I skate to the Luas and get that to the Convention Centre and then skate to my offices, but today because of the bus strike the Luas is packed so I may have to skate all the way,” he said.

Student Monika Kalovec (35) was very annoyed at the bus strike.

“I normally get the 27 bus to DCU but today I came in from Crumlin on the Luas to Heuston and now I have my folding bike and I will have to cycle,” she said.

“The whole public transport in Dublin annoys me,” she said as she hurriedly unfolded her bike and set off for college.

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