Drivers who block Luas may face automatic fines and penalty points
Red-light cameras could be installed at Luas junctions
An automated red-light camera was introduced at the junction of Blackhall Place and the Luas Red Line in 2015 following a series of collisions. Photograph: Getty Images
Motorists who block the Luas Cross City line could face automatic fines and penalty points through the use of new automated “red light” and yellow box junction cameras.
National Transport Authority (NTA) chief executive Anne Graham has said the NTA will seek new enforcement powers, including the implementation of automated cameras, if motorists do not obey traffic signals and block yellow box junctions.
The cameras, which were introduced on a pilot basis at one Luas junction two years ago, take photographs of vehicles entering the intersection when the light is red. Drivers who break the red light automatically receive three penalty points and a fine of up to €120. Any new cameras would operate in a similar way.
Trams had initially been scheduled to run from St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge in 21 minutes, but following test runs in recent months the timetable has been revised to 27 minutes. However, if junctions are blocked by traffic along the line even this longer journey time will not be met.
“Traffic patterns are going to have to change to accommodate the Luas Cross City. There will be a period of bedding down, particularly as full operations commence,” Ms Graham said.
However she said it was crucial from the start of operations that motorists did not break lights or block yellow box junctions. “As citizens of the city we all have to be aware that yellow boxes are put in place for a particular reason. There will probably be a level of enforcement needed to ensure that yellow boxes in particular are kept free so that traffic can move.”
Initially the NTA would rely on increased Garda enforcement during the bedding in phase of Luas operations. However, the authority would seek additional traffic-management powers if motorists were not obeying traffic laws.
“We believe that particularly in the early days we may require assistance from the guards in terms of enforcement, but as an authority we may take on an enforcement role. It might take camera enforcement of movements in a particular corridor.”
She said the use of cameras on busy routes in the city centre would take on additional importance as the authority introduced higher levels of bus priority in the coming years.
An automated red-light camera was introduced at the junction of Blackhall Place and the Luas Red Line in 2015 following a series of collisions.
Dublin Bus head of operations Donal Keating said he would welcome the measure. “I’d welcome anything that would improve the enforcement regime, and I suppose Irish people in general aren’t necessarily the best rule followers in the world so it would be a good enforcement technique.”
Brendan O’Brien of the city’s traffic department said he would be supportive of the introduction of cameras. “I think they would be quite welcome. We put in yellow boxes because there’s a specific requirement to keep an area clear. When you see people staying in the yellow box that defeats the whole purpose, we don’t put them in for fun.”