Dart services set to run every 10 minutes in 2016

Proposed changes to rail services open to public consultation until December 8th

Passenger levels of Dart services specifically have increased by 8 per cent in 2015.  File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Passenger levels of Dart services specifically have increased by 8 per cent in 2015. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Dublin’s Dart passengers face longer journeys from next year under plans from Iarnród Éireann to add more trains to the line.

Dart services are to be increased in frequency from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes on weekdays, and will start running earlier in the morning, in an effort to ease overcrowding on trains.

However the increase in the number of trains using the line will lengthen journey times “across the Dart schedule” the company has admitted.

The planned changes, which will be subject to public consultation, would result the number of southbound trains increasing from 80 to 113 daily and northbound services from 78 to 109 trains on weekdays.

Weekend services will also increase in frequency to ensure trains run every 15 minutes on Saturdays and 20 minutes on Sundays.

First daily Dart services would depart at 5.50am from Malahide (currently 6.30am), at 6.00am from Howth (currently 6.05am), and at 5.35am from Bray (currently 5.40am).

However, company spokesman Barry Kenny said journey times would have to increase across the Dart schedule “to accommodate a more intensive service operation and to ensure punctuality” .

“...any increase would be modest for the vast majority of journeys, and the service will remain by far the quickest option for those looking to avoid increasing congestion along the Dart corridor and in the city centre.”

A typical morning journey from Dun Laoghaire to Pearse Station, which currently takes 19 minutes would under the new timetable take 22 minutes.

The timetable changes, which will be available for consultation and submissions until December 8th, include revisions to the Dublin/Belfast Enterprise schedule, increased numbers of trains from Dundalk, and an extra express morning peak service from Dundalk at 7.55am and Drogheda at 8.20am.

Following recent industrial action, unions at the company are to ballot members by December 14th on a Labour Court recommendation that both sides enter a process of negotiation on productivity.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said increasing the Dart frequency was not agreed.

“An increase in service frequency would obviously fall into that productivity category, however in order to enter such a process we will first have to Ballot our members on the Labour Court Recommendation, this will not be completed until the 14th December.”

Mr Kenny said the company has been training new drivers in anticipation of the increased service levels which would be needed. “Therefore the new schedule is quite separate to the issues at the WRC [Workplace Relations Commission] as it will be delivered through our driver resources comprising both existing and newly trained drivers.”