Number of passengers on DART increases by 220,000
PASSENGER numbers on the DART jumped by 220,000 in the first quarter of this year, the biggest rise in usage on any of Irish Rail's services.
With rail-users complaining of overcrowded and uncomfortable trains, the transport company has said it aims to bring in a more frequent services next year.
A total of 3.69 million passengers used the DART service in the first three months of the year -more than a third of Irish Rail's 9 million users nationwide - and a 6pc jump on the same period in 2014.
Irish Rail believe that a drop in unemployment levels and their own promotional offers have caused the increase in people on trains.
Due to the continued growth of the DART service the National Transport Authority and Irish Rail are planning to bump up the number of trains running every hour in 2016.
Under the proposals DART trains will run every 10 minutes instead of every 15 minutes.
The move has been welcomed by the Irish National Rail Users Organisation who said overcrowding on trains was getting worse.
"From a purely practical point of view the problem is a comfort issue," said spokesman Mark Gleeson.
"It is an issue of comfort rather than safety but that's not very helpful if you are crushed into somebody's armpit or with somebody's handbag digging into your side.
"At peak times there is a capacity pinch. The more people you fit in the longer a journey takes because it takes longer to get everyone off and let others board. We're beginning to notice that things are slowing down a lot," Mr Gleeson added.
"It happens around the world but I've never experienced the consistent level of overcrowding in Dublin anywhere else in Europe - apart from the Tube in London.
"In Dublin it's manic for about 90 minutes."
Mr Gleeson believes that Irish Rail, not just commuters, will benefit from the additional services.
"The really important thing is that to increase the number of trains will increase the number of people travelling also," Mr Gleeson said.
"At the moment the average wait is about seven minutes so there's a psychological element to increasing the number of trains."
Irish Rail said that they are constantly monitoring train usage.
"While there has been growth, we are still significantly below peak demand from 2007 and so we are in a position to accommodate numbers travelling within existing train sizes while also having the scope to meet further increases as they occur," a spokesman said.
The company said that they never encounter problems with trains being so full that passengers can't board them.
"At peak times on urban rail systems all over the world, full use of seating and standing capacity is the norm, with trains designed to safely accommodate this," the spokesman said.