Dublin Bus strike day five: 400,000 without transport

Heavy traffic as commuters give mixed views on industrial action by drivers

 

About 400,000 people used alternative transport in Dublin city today as Dublin Bus services came to a halt due to strike action at 9pm on Thursday.

This is the third two-day stoppage over the pay dispute and 13 further strike days have announced in the coming weeks.

Dublin Bus passengers have had to find different ways to get to work on each strike day.

Traffic was heavy with delays on most routes leading into Dublin city but drivers described the journeys as “not too bad”.

Many people queued for taxi services around peak times and Dublin Bikes were a popular way for people to travel.

Walkers took advantage of the good weather and because of the extra early start got to take some impressive photographs of the sunrise.

Luas and Dart passengers appeared to struggle the most with some commuters describing their journeys to “being crushed liked sardines” in the tightly packed carriages.

Views were divided in support of the Dublin Bus drivers strike over pay but all hoped it would be resolved soon.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association( ISME) chief executive Mark Fielding said people “right across the whole economy people are watching” what is happening in the dispute.

“Do we all start ‘well he got more than me’?” Mr Fielding said on RTÉ News at One in reference to the Luas drivers pay increase.

“We have to start talking in terms of what we can afford. We need to talk seriously about how the bus sector is being run. ”

Siptu organiser Owen Reidy said Dublin Bus workers had not received a pay increase in eight years.

“We got to compare like with like. Bus workers never got bench marking,” he said.

“The real crisis here is the cuts to subvention over the last decade.”

The Labour Court has recommended an 8.25 per cent increase over three years, but it was rejected by workers.

The sixth day of the strike is set to continue this Saturday. Airlink services will not run Friday and Saturday and the Nitelink service will also not run over the weekend.

Iarnróid Éireann have reminded commuters Dublin Bus tickets are not valid on trains.

Next week fans going to see the Dublin versus Mayo All-Ireland football replay in Croke Park on Saturday, October 1st will also be affected.

The company estimates on average they would expect to carry an extra 8,000 customers on an All-Ireland final day.

The stoppages scheduled for October will be on Saturday 1st, Wednesday 5th, Friday 7th, Monday 10th, Wednesday 12th, Friday 14th, Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th, Monday 24th, Wednesday 26th and Saturday 29th.

We have outlined a number of alternative travel options:

Walk

If you live at distance that can be walked, it might be a good idea to put on your runners and bring an umbrella. Give yourself plenty of time. Met Éireann forecasters predict Friday will be mainly dry but rain and drizzle will become more widespread in the evening. Saturday will be windy and mild with outbreaks of heavy showers. You could also wear an activity tracker to know all the extra steps you have added up for the day.

Cycling

Cycling to work is a popular option. If you are bringing your own bicycle make sure you have somewhere secure to leave it. People can now use their Leap card to avail of the Dublin Bikes rental scheme. New members should go to dublinbikes.ie before they travel. An annual card costs €20 and a three-day ticket €5. The good news is about 235 calories are burned on the average cycle commute, according to latest research by the Cycle to Work Day group.

Driving/carpooling

Remember there will be a lot more people driving and cycling than normal. If you fancy sharing a lift Transport for Ireland has the website www.carsharing.ie you could use. Volumes of traffic are expected to be higher than normal for both days. Gardaí have said motorists will not be allowed to use the bus lanes on days of strike action. During previous strikes, the hashtag #liftfairy on Twitter has been popular.

Taxi

Taxi services have warned they will be very busy around peak travelling times. Hailo has advised its customers to avoid travelling between between 8am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm if possible as the demand will be “sky high”.

Public transport

The Dart, commuter services and Luas will run services as normal. Expect the journeys to be a lot more crowded than normal and they will not be running extra services. A number of Luas stops offer park and ride facilities if you do not want to drive into the city. They can normally fill up quite early. www.luas.ie/park-and-ride/

Other buses

Bus Éireann, Aircoach and a number of private bus operators will run services as normal.

A new technology start-up CitySwifter.com is encouraging people to crowdsource their transport. People can enter their journey requests on the website and are matched with fellow passengers to book private buses to get them to and from their place of work.