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Saturday 25 November 2017

Rush-hour commute will pose biggest challenge

Daniel McConnell

Daniel McConnell

HUNDREDS of thousands of rush-hour commuters face widespread chaos on December 16 because of the planned strike by ESB workers.

Passengers on Dart, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, Luas, as well as private commuters, face substantial disruption if the strike goes ahead.

Emergency contingency plans have been drawn up by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and his officials and they convened a transport war room meeting.

The officials said the power shortage would directly impact on "the peak evening period", adding that with considerable contingency plans in place "all other times should be unaffected".

"The rush-hour period at the end of the working day poses the greatest risk – and will require the most management to contain the disruption to commuters travelling home," one senior government figure said.

Luas services face disruption as access to many stations may be cut off due to the power cuts.

DART services will be maintained "as much as possible" by way of generators, but some stations may not be accessible because of the power outages.

Bus Eireann and Irish Rail want stations treated as "critical" but it is feared some will be closed.

Dublin Airport is likely to be unaffected as it has two sources of supply as well as generator back-up. The DAA is comfortable that operations can continue in Dublin, Shannon and Cork.

Dublin Bus has generator back-up in all of its garages and has ordered in extra generators for its HQ.

The Coast Guard's three centres have back-up supplies and will most likely be unaffected.

The Port Tunnel has two separate sources of electricity supply and is likely to remain operational.

Should the strike action not be called off this weekend, all relevant departments will meet again next week to receive a briefing.

Irish Independent

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