High rates of anti-social behaviour and vandalism on the Luas highlights the need for urgent action to combat this alarming trend, according to Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell.
Deputy Farrell, who represents Dublin Fingal, said: “Data released to me reveals that Transdev, the operator of the Luas network, recorded 721 incidents of anti-social behaviour up to 10th October this year, which was almost the same number of incidents recorded the previous year.
“There were also 59 incidents of graffiti from 2020 to date in 2021, with the total cost of vandalism estimated to be €133,638.49.
“This cost includes cleaning of graffiti as well as replacement of broken windows, doors, passenger seats and windscreens.
“This problem is not just confined to one mode of public transport, as vandalism on 211 Dart carriages this year alone cost has cost over €500,000.
“Bus Eireann recently informed me of a year-on-year increase of 86% in incidents of malicious damage, with 80 incidents in the first nine months of the year, compared to 40 in the same period in 2020.
“Anti social behaviour on public transport is a major issue and and it is not acceptable that passengers and staff who work daily our trains, buses, trams, and in stations are affected by these incidents.
“It is clear that a high visibility policing presence on our trains, Luas trams, buses and at stations, would make people feel safer and act as a deterrent to those who might engage in anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
“This would not be needed on a 24 hour basis, but rather at certain times in the afternoon and evening, according to staff, passengers and other stakeholders I have spoken to.
“While I welcome the addition of 800 additional Gardai and 400 civilian staff, as well as Garda initiatives such as Operation Citizen, I believe that there is now a clear and urgent need for the Gardai to develop a dedicated Public Transport Unit, which will counter anti-social behaviour on our trains, trams and buses.
“I believe that the trends regarding anti-social behaviour are rapidly eroding public confidence in transport safety, particularly amongst women, and the data shows that this concern is justified.
“A Garda Public Transport Unit would not only restore confidence among the public but also serve as a crucial deterrent to individuals that board public transport with the intent of causing damage or intimidation,” Deputy Farrell concluded.