Well, my friend John was standing on the Dublin bound platform in Howth Junction on Monday when he approached by an “auld fella” which probably meant a man in his forties or fifties. Now, my friend John is quite a nutter attractor. He is the guy that the nutter on the DART will always sit beside and you can relax in the twin warm glows that the nutter isn’t beside you and that you can watch the nutter annoy poor John all the way into town. Today, though, John hadn’t attracted a nutter, he had attracted the attention on a normal man who had, indeed, met a nutter earlier.
This nutter was the hero in Booterstown DART station who had sold out poor sod with a DART ticket which boasted an add-on for the AERDART. Our victim was wondering where the bus stop for the AERDART was. Now, just in case you didn’t know it, AERDART was a private bus service that connected Dublin Airport to the DART line at Howth Junction. Problem is that it went to the wall some two years ago. Now, there are many reasons why a service can go to the wall, but as AERDART’s arse went through it’s head, they released a little statement whereby they attributed their closure to the fact that, whilst they were awarded a franchise to connect to the DART, they found this rather difficult to fulfil when IE decided to close the line for two summers in a row at weekends. Now, IE were of the opinion that this had to be done because they had to lengthen the platforms for the imminent introduction of 8 carriage DARTS. Fair enough. So they did this work. Then they realised that they had to upgrade the power lines for the same reason, and they closed the line again. So they did this work. Great, you’d think, the moment that they lay the last new brick and the power gets switched on all the DARTS, now 8 carriages long, will be ready to roll.
What do you think? Yes, it was at this time that IE decided to start shifting large lumps of the DART fleet off to Europe to be refurbished. Yes, not when half of the network was switched off for two days a week, but when all that work was done and they were needed.
So, this was the sort of idiocy that resulted in a simple idea taking forever. When you also think that the line was shut for no benefit at all really considering that when it was re-opened there weren’t any 8-carraige DARTS anyway, it is really ironic that while all this was going on the first real attempt to connect the Airport to the rail line was strangled at birth by the crass ignorance of the rail company. A rail company that is so blasé and inconsiderate that it is still selling tickets to use a service it hasn’t noticed it killed off two years ago.
Bear this in mind whenever Integrated Ticketing, with all its massive costs and seemingly infinite deadline gets mentioned in the press. What massive sea-change in attitudes will be needed in order for the DoT, IE, BAC, all the private operators, at the whoever is running Metro and Luas at this appointed time, the RPA, and God-know how many quangos exist at the time to acknowledge the others exist, let alone co-operate with each other?
When you consider what IE and the RPA have been up to at Broadstone recently you have to hope it isn’t an omen for the future.
By the way, John got our victim a Taxi.