Irish Rail's handling of DART closure a disgrace
November 1st 2011
Irish Rail's handling of the situation following the suspension of DART services on Dublin's southside has been branded a disgrace by standard commuters. Absolutely nothing has been done to help passengers, no extra buses, no clear advice. Saying Dublin Bus will accept tickets is pointless when Dublin Bus is already struggling to cope with rush hour demand due to service reductions.
Irish Rail's prompt action in closing the line in this case demonstrates that the Malahide Viaduct collapse was entirely preventable had Irish Rail adopted and stuck to appropriate engineering and safety standards.
The closure effects over 160 weekday services affecting approximately 30,000 daily journeys, roughly twice the impact of the collapse of the Malahide Viaduct. Unlike the comprehensive and practical bus replacements put in place following the collapse of the Malahide Viaduct absolutely nothing has been done to strengthen bus services on Dublin's southside. Dublin Bus in its infinite wisdom choose not to use its larger 3 axle double decker buses on the 46A and 145 routes over the weekend resulting in many people being left behind. Reports of large gaps and buses running out of service of the 7 route.
As is the norm, Irish Rail through its usual mix of bad planning and poorly throught out cost cutting has made what is already a bad situation much worse. In recent years as a cost cutting measure Irish Rail removed three sets of crossovers which allow trains to change tracks, two at Merrion gates and a third at Dun Laoghaire. Had these not been removed there would be a train every 15 minutes between Sydney Parade and Bray, effectively a normal service, not the current train every 30 minutes.
The decision to go ahead with major engineering works at Connolly station over the bank holiday highlights the total lack of consideration and understanding of the needs of the public. Absolute chaos ensured as it was not possible to reach Dublin City centre from the north or south side without resorting to a bus.
Tuesday morning was a story of chaos, signal failures at Blackrock and absolutely no sign of any coherent plan from Irish Rail to get people to work. Hundreds left stranded on both trains and at bus stops as the service is unable to cope.
As is typical Irish Rail's failure to communicate in a clear and timely fashion has left passengers confused and delayed. There is no information on Irish Rail's website, facebook or twitter as to what bus routes are available to passengers. Between Sydney Parade and Salthill trains now alternate between platforms resulting in northbound trains using southbound platforms and vice versa, no announcements or notices have been provided to explain this. The on-train information system and announcements are either not working or erroneously quoting northside destinations.
Rail Users Ireland calls for
- A frequently circular shuttle bus route from Pearse Station to Sydney Parade to be provided 7 days a week.
- Upgrade bus route 8 (City Centre to Dalkey) to a 20-30 minute frequency all day.
- A train every 20 minutes between Bray and Sydney Parade should be provided instead of the 30 minute frequency currently in place.
- All non-safety critical engineering works in the Dublin region and on the Dublin Rosslare line to be postponed.