Monday 23 April 2018

'It's a real trek - and even if I can get a taxi, I won't be reimbursed'

Commuters stranded at Clontarf Dart station in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren
Commuters stranded at Clontarf Dart station in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren

Ryan Nugent

At one of Dublin's busiest Dart stations the crowds came in, parking their cars - the daily grind coming to an end for another week.

All that was missing at Clontarf was the train.

When the Irish Independent told Jamie McKee (27) there was no service, he thought it was a wind-up, as dozens of other passengers walked up to an empty track.

But it wasn't April Fool's Day just yet.

"It's a real inconvenience trying to get to work, I'm going to have to get a taxi," Mr McKee said.

The nightmare continued, with taxi companies telling customers of an hour-long wait to be picked up. It was already 8.30am and most jobs started at 9am.

Daisy Miles-Thomas (29) was trying to get from Clontarf to Blackrock for work - pretty straightforward when the Dart line is running - and was in a similar frenzy.

"It's a real trek. I can't get a bus, I can't get a Dart and if I get a taxi, I won't get reimbursed," she said.

"I'm going to be late, and will have to make up the hours. I actually don't know how I'm going to get to work."

Outside the station, five Bus Éireann drivers stood together, brandishing placards with a request that was duly accepted by their Irish Rail colleagues.

"Support our struggle... don't drive your train today."

Similar requests were asked of the Dublin Bus drivers.

Meanwhile, without any public transport on the roads, private cars crawled bumper to bumper in every direction into the city. Barry Sweeney (47) was one of a group of commuters stood at a bus stop opposite a Dublin Bus depot, watching the tailbacks get worse and worse.

"I'm just going to walk," he said. His journey was to Dawson Street - 7.3km and an hour and 20 minute journey on foot, according to Google Maps.

He had some sympathy for the industrial action, but could not understand why there was no notice given. "I'm stranded otherwise," Mr Sweeney said. "I'm in support of unions, it's just I guess the flash nature of it all.

"Top executives aren't going to be as affected by it, it's the ordinary people."

Dublin Bus and Irish Rail drivers insisted their action was not a strike, but a secondary picket. But to the commuters hours late for work, did the wording of it really matter?

Irish Independent

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