| -2.9°C Dublin

How Dublin Bus kept city moving despite freeze

I want to acknowledge the drivers who reached far-flung places in Dublin in the icy conditions, as well as all inspectors and control room workers who worked around the clock to get timely and accurate updates on the conditions.

No matter how well trained drivers are, it doesn't matter. You have to experience a bus with a will of its own to know how frightening that is.

The real problems for drivers were in far-flung places and mountainous areas, like Blessington or Kiltiernan, and the biggest problems in terms of scale were on the westside in Lucan, Clondalkin, Tallaght.

We got very detailed forecasts from Met Eireann two or three times a day, and in our control centre in Broadstone we had about a dozen inspectors working.

We had Ruth Moody inside manning the website so that people would be updated, and she worked 24/7, and I think she's now exhausted. The chief inspectors were out there in the conditions in the staff cars giving us updates.

Every morning at about 5am we sent a team of up to 12 chief inspectors checking the roads. And from 5am to 12 at night we were handling the website.

The chief inspectors would liaise the information around, and we told the drivers where to stay out of, and we updated the website every 10 minutes. One inspector slept at the controls as some lads were delayed.

We had a fantastic response from the staff in terms of getting out there -- the conditions were extremely difficult. We had inspectors on the sides of the roads 10 hours a day in minus conditions.

I want to thank all the workers and Dublin's councils for the work they did to help services run as normally as possible. Anytime customers rang, 90pc were congratulating drivers.

There were only four minor accidents, one on O'Connell Bridge and on Parnell square west, and on those two occasions cars slipped and hit the bus, but only minor material damage was done.

We had about 20 to 30 incidents where we had to send out maintenance crews to turn buses around.

The only places where passengers had to get out and walk was on Christchurch hill and Parnell Square west, and this was where the gritters came in. We called them immediately and got them to the situation as soon as we could.

I also want to thank the gardai. We were working with them throughout the situation and they were keeping us informed.