For those of you who get the jammed Luas in the morning, you may not believe this, but the green line still has not reached its maximum capacity just yet. But there’s a lot more coming fast and we need to adapt rapidly.
The TII estimates that, at peak travelling times, about 12,000 passengers use the Green Line every hour – up from about 11,000 in 2017. Peak hour travel is still chaotic, and the Luas is very unpleasant, at best, to get at these times. The Government recently announced that they will extend every Luas by 12m, making it the longest tram in the world. Let’s be real though it’s not a tram, it’s a light rail with some tram like elements in the city, e.g. crossing over roads and sharing lanes with buses.
In Project 2040, the Government announced their plans to turn the green line from Charlemont to Sandyford into a Metro, they also announced their intentions to extend the Luas from Brides Glen to Bray. All great ideas but we’re now starting to see the spin falling apart and the Government withdrawing its commitment on metro south. This announcement is hugely damaging to the scale of major residential projects like Dundrum Phase 2, Central Mental Hospital, Carrickmines, Sandyford, Cherrywood and even Fassaroe.
If we’re not getting a metro south anymore and we’re still planning on expanding the Luas to Bray, then we have to make improvements where we can improve services to adapt to these major projects. I believe we need the NTA to develop targeted alterations to where the Luas comes to junctions with roads and the Luas is held up due to traffic lights. By diverting traffic to alternative and sustainable routes, it will allow the Luas to ramp up capacity and deliver more trams at peak hours. The same argument is also very relevant to the DART and rail crossings in Dublin.
I believe if this methodology is followed throughout, we can slowly but surely develop a Luas line that delivers metro-like capacity at a fraction of the cost. It will deliver long term benefits to the people of North Wicklow and Bray, but also offer sustainable modes of transport rather than more and more lanes on the M11.