More than 2,000 people apply for 29 Luas driver jobs
First test of new Luas Cross City line set to go ahead in mid-June this year
Luas operator Transdev has received a “record breaking” number of applicants to become tram drivers.
A Transdev spokesperson said more than 2,000 people have applied for positions as drivers with Dublin’s light rail system.
Around 29 new positions will be filled before the cross-city service starts carrying passengers next December, with the testing of the new line set to go ahead in June.
On Monday, the company closed its recruitment drive due to the “overwhelming number of applications”.
While precise figures have not been calculated yet, about 33 per cent of applicants are women. Currently, only 4 per cent of Luas drivers are female (eight women and 172 male drivers).
The starting salary for the first six months is €29,661, and rises to €31,309 for the next six months – known as the induction year. The next year, known as year 1, the salary rises to €34,788.
For a driver starting today, their earnings may rise to €48,753 by September, 2020.
Total earnings at the top of the scale for drivers will go to €49,972 from 2020. There is also a bonus of up to 6.5 per cent.
The company has offered drivers a number of benefits including maternity/paternity leave, wedding leave, shift work, free parking and free Luas travel.
The highly-publicised pay dispute appears to have attracted the attention of a high number applicants for the new positions this year.
Last year, Luas drivers held a number of work stoppages, following a long running pay dispute.
The four-month industrial relations row ended after workers and Transdev agreed to accept a Labour Court recommendation that includes wage increases of up to 18.3 per cent.
The new drivers will need to be in place for training by September when the trial runs are scheduled go ahead on the new tracks for the Luas Cross City line.
Work on the project began in June 2013 to link the green and red lines in O’Connell Street and continue north to the new DIT campus at Grangegorman, then on to Phibsborough and Cabra, where it will terminate at the Iarnród Éireann station at Broombridge.
A Luas project spokesperson said a one-off “gauge run” would take place in mid-June to test the new tracks.
“June is a once-off set piece. But then you won’t see trams on it then again until the trials and testing of it start in September/October. We have to train up the drivers and do more testing before passenger services open in December.”
Work has already begun on all 13 new Luas stops, eight of which will be in the city centre. “This is the year when it all comes together.”
The new trams are due to arrive from France in October. “These trams are actually longer than the current ones on the green line so they can hold more people.”
This will allow for an extra 60 people per tram, bringing the total to 369.
The original green line platforms between St Stephen’s Green and Sandyford will be extended in length before the new trams are running.
The project is expected to cost almost €400 million.