Words: Ellen Kenny
The NTA will not offer a 24-hour Luas anytime soon. This decision comes despite mass support and a request from the Minister for Transport.
Luas services past 01:00 have been ruled out for now by the National Transport Authority (NTA). Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan asked the NTA to examine the prospect of running late-night Luas services in June.
According to a spokesperson who spoke to The Journal, essential maintenance on the likes of overhead cable systems, rail works and cleaning “can only be carried out when all trams are out of service”.
“Further extending hours of service would by definition, reduce the amount of time available for maintenance work, which could result in a diminution of services at other times of the week,” said the spokesperson.
However, the Luas previously ran late night services in 2015. Luases ran at times ranging from 01:30 to 3:30 during the Christmas period. So clearly, this is something that can be done, when they really want to do it. When the blueprint is there, what’s stopping them?
Cities like Chicago, Tokyo, and Melbourne have also managed to create a more complicated public transport system. And they runs 24 hours while still carrying out essential maintenance. It seems like a bit of coordination and care can go a long way in extending public transport.
But comparing Dublin to other cities probably isn’t a healthy mental exercise for any of us.
One of the main benefits of a Luas past 01:00 is the service it would provide after a night out. Right now, we need all the help we can get.
Currently, only 29 per cent of registered taxi drivers operate on Friday and Saturday nights. There are currently 10,087 taxis in Dublin according to the NTA. This is an increase in only 32 taxis since the end of 2021. This is on top of the increased price in Free Now taxis, as well as their complete rarity at the end of a night out.
A 2020 report found that 55 per cent of women do not feel safe using public transport at night. 34 per cent said that their concerns about safety travelling at night has prevented them from going out completely.
There is also an incredible lack of additional buses that were once used in the event of larger events in the city at night. While there are some 24-hour bus routes, they are infrequent and unreliable at the best of times.
At a time when we could use all the late-night public transport we can get, the NTA are caging themselves in.
Elsewhere on District: Free Now are introducing e-bikes to Dublin