Dublin Rathdown Fine Gael TD, Neale Richmond, has called for the rollout of the eleven remaining LUAS tram extensions to be prioritised to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Dublin.
Speaking on the issue, Deputy Richmond said: “The placing of Dublin in Phase 3 of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 was a tough, but necessary, decision to keep Dubliners and the rest of the country safe.
“When we move out of Phase Three and begin to resume our daily routines, having adequate space on public transport will be more important than ever.
“As it stands, the 26 existing Green line LUAS trams are being extended from 43m to 55m which will increase passenger capacity by 30%.
“Replies I received this week via Parliamentary Question from the Transport Minister state that 15 of the 26 extensions have entered into service, yet 11 are still outstanding.
“Currently, delivery of the additional trams is set to continue into 2021.
“LUAS has adapted well to social distancing, with seats clearly cordoned off for social distancing and an extremely high rate of compliance for mask wearing.
“However, even now with commuters encouraged to walk or cycle where they can and only use the LUAS for essential journeys, trams are often nearing capacity at peak hours with passengers congregating in the standing areas.
“The rollout of these additional trams must be prioritised so that when it is safe to return to using public transport there is adequate space for people to practice social distancing while on the LUAS.
“Looking beyond Covid, it is clear that increasing LUAS capacity must be a continuing priority to meet the requirements of a rapidly growing population living on the line, with new housing developments nearby continuing at pace.
“More longer trams in operation and an increased capacity will allow passengers, drivers and inspectors to stay safe when they are at work or travelling on the LUAS.”