Wednesday 19 December 2018

'Further days of strike will cause real disruption'

Katie McBride.
Katie McBride.
Jonathan Butler.
Azeta Dully.
Patrick Creed.

Wicklow commuters weren't looking further to any further rail disruptions after strikes last Wednesday forced many workers to find alternative modes of transport.

As commuters hurriedly disembarked the train from Dublin at Wicklow Train Station on Friday evening, some remarked on how inconvenient any further strikes (including the one held yesterday, Tuesday) would be.

Nicola Fahy gets the morning train each working day to Dublin in order to reach her place of employment. While she was able to make alternative transport arrangements on the first day of industrial action, she wasn't so confident of being able to make similar arrangements for the other four strike days planned, including yesterday (Tuesday, November 7).

She said: 'I had to borrow my partner's car. Fortunately, he normally works from home so he was able to arrange a day where he didn't need to head anywhere.

'It meant having to get up much earlier in order to try and beat the traffic and the cost of parking in the city centre was very expensive.

'It wasn't ideal but further days of strike will cause real disruption. My partner generally has to make work-visits in his car and it will be difficult to organise a second day where he can do without his vehicle.

'I could get the bus but it takes longer to get into town because of all the stops and still leaves me a good distance away from my workplace.

Gerry O'Reilly was able to rely on the goodwill of a neighbour in order to get into work on time last Wednesday.

'I got a lift into Dublin with a neighbour of mine who drives to work each day. The traffic was really bad. I get the train because its generally meant to be a more comfortable way to travel but usually there aren't many seats left by the time it reaches Wicklow station anyway.

'At least I have someone I can get a lift from. I know other people from work who were left pretty high and dry because of the strike.'

At the station in Bray, commuters expressed some frustration at the strike while other voiced their support of the staff.

'I'm not a regular Dart user but my sister is,' said Katie McBride. 'She had to get the bus and leave much earlier to get into town for 9 a.m. It was OK but with the schools back she has to leave way earlier. It is a massive inconvenience for her. She was dreading the next strikes, it's just a complete nightmare. To be honest I think it's ridiculous what they're asking for. Really I think they get well paid as it is.'

Patrick Creed opted for the bus during last Wednesday's strike.

'It was just a bit annoying but didn't make a huge difference. I would be supportive of the strike. People should be paid properly and they're entitled to take action,' he said.

Jonathan Butler relies on the Dart to get to work and had to take his car last Wednesday, which he said was an inconvenience as he had to pay a lot for parking in Dublin.

'I think they have enough money for the work that they do. I haven't got a pay rise in 20 years, I don't go on strike about it. I buy my ticket every week and rely on it to get to work. I start work at six in the morning. There's no bus, the first bus to leave Bray is half past seven. I get the first Dart in the morning at 5.30 a.m.,' said Mr Butler.

Azeta Dully uses the Dart every day. 'Luckily I was off for mid-term so it didn't affect me too much and knowing when the next strikes are, I can plan accordingly,' she said. 'Thankfully being from Bray I can get the bus, there are alternatives. I do find it massively inconvenient. If it was a long-term thing it would change my commute. My journey would be much longer to the city centre. I'm not supportive of the strike. I work for a semi-state organisation and I am also a member of a union but I would not be for holding the public to ransom.'

While the majority of the passengers at Arklow train station on Friday last were one-off service users, third level student Niamh Kinch from Arklow said that while the first strike day last week did not affect her personally, future dates could impact students.

'It was mid-term and most of us were off so it didn't affect me. It is a bit of a pain for people who need to take the train. My mother commutes to Dublin on the train and she buys a monthly ticket. She doesn't know if this will be refunded or if she will lose out on the days of the strike,' she said.

Another passenger who did not wish to be named said that she only uses the train from time to time but that she was worried that the day she might need it, the service wouldn't be available due to strikes.

Wicklow People