Tales from the Dart: ‘It’s pretty horrendous at rush hour’
Frequent train commuters report serious overcrowding, anti-social behaviour
Dart commuter Anne Webb (63): ‘Sometimes the trains can be very crowded, and then you get instances when some people are aggressive on the train as well,’ she says.
Anne Webb (63) has used the Dart each day since it began, travelling between Pearse Street in the city centre and Raheny on the northside. She is glad to have the service but it is not without problems.
“Sometimes the trains can be very crowded, and then you get instances when some people are aggressive on the train as well, you get anti-social behaviour, which is kind of daunting,” she says.
Working in Savills estate agents on Molesworth Street, she is used to rush-hour crushes, but still finds carriages to be an “obstacle course” on school-days, when schoolbags are everywhere.
“Sometimes I just wish [it] ran on time a little bit better to be honest,” she adds.
Simon Smith (22) is also a nine-to-five commuter, having travelled from Greystones, Co Wicklow on the Dart since schooldays. Now working as a trainee in a city centre solicitor’s firm, he describes his Dart experience as “overall negative”.
“It’s pretty horrendous at rush hour. Ever since I was in school we’ve always been complaining about how short the Darts are, and how everyone is rammed into one.”
Smith does his best to avoid rush-hour congestion but there is little he can do about the morning commute.
“Because I’m in Greystones, getting up earlier doesn’t really make a difference. There’s only, like, three or four Darts you can get and they’re all really busy until the half-eight Dart.”
Charlie Ryan (55) takes the Dart at 7am every weekday morning, which means he can always get a seat travelling from Bray, Co Wicklow to Pearse Street.
“I prefer to start early anyway, but it works out quite well ,” he says. But if he departs any later it’s a different story. “I got a train on Monday a week ago, and I left later than usual, it was about 8.30am from Bray, and I couldn’t believe the difference.
“It was just what you imagine Japan to be like, they were pushing people, like people were trying to squash on and it was very overcrowded.”
Anti-social behaviour is becoming more frequent, he adds. “I’ve been stuck on a carriage on my own with a bunch of people on drugs and I found that very scary really, and I know lots of other people have had that experience.
“I don’t see a high security presence, I’ve read that there’s more security people but I don’t see them . . . but that’s the only downside to the train.”