Monday 24 October 2016

Ten days of Luas strike costs Dublin €15m

Areas on the green line in south Dublin were particularly badly hit by increased traffic due to the strike action (INM)
Areas on the green line in south Dublin were particularly badly hit by increased traffic due to the strike action (INM)

Businesses across Dublin have been hit by a loss of more than €15m since the Luas strikes began, it has been claimed.

Tram drivers went on strike for the 10th time yesterday, leaving passengers stuck in gridlock for long periods during morning and evening rush hour.

Areas on the green line in south Dublin were particularly badly hit by increased traffic due to the strike action, according to AA Ireland's Conor Faughnan.

Among the areas that experienced a huge increase in traffic were Dundrum and the Merrion Road.


"However, it wasn't the worst day for a Luas strike in terms of traffic because it was a Wednesday in May with the schools off," he said.

One disgruntled Luas user said it took 20 minutes to get from a bus stop at Busaras to the quays, while the journey from Heuston Station to the city centre was taking over 25 minutes in gridlocked traffic.

Meanwhile, traders across the city have lost more than €15m in sales since Luas strikes started, it has been claimed.

Traders are now bracing themselves for further losses with more strikes planned and no end in sight to the dispute.

Business groups have estimated that traders lost more than €1.5m every day Luas workers went on strike - a loss of €15m in sales since the dispute first started.

Footfall throughout the city was up around 10pc last week, but shoppers decided to stay out of the city last Thursday when Luas workers held a strike - with the footfall figure dropping by 10pc.

Dublin Town CEO Richard Guiney estimated that more than 25,000 customers were not coming into the city on each day strike action was held.

He also warned that lost sales will not be recouped.

"It's not like that if people don't shop today, they will then spend that money and shop next week … that's not the psychology.

"If people don't shop, they don't shop. Those sales are not made up next week," he told the Herald.

"The last couple of months we have found that the spend has actually been a bit down. There seems to be a consistent caution amongst consumers who are slightly nervous."

Mr Guiney, who heads the Business Improvement District in the capital, called for an end to the pay dispute between Luas workers and operators Transdev.

"It is costing us on an ongoing basis and we really do want to see a resolution to this," he said.

"We would have preferred if there wasn't 10 days of strikes, and we certainly don't want to see another 10 days."

Meanwhile, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce has warned the strike action may have a devastating long-term impact.

Chamber spokesman Graeme McQueen told the Herald that businesses are growing increasingly "frustrated".

"Businesses just want a resolution at this stage," said Mr McQueen.

"I think there is very little sympathy for the drivers at this stage. I think the demands from the start were viewed by the public in a certain way.

"I don't think they have done themselves any favours the way they have gone about things.

"It would put people off coming into the city centre because traffic is heavier and buses are busier."

He added the chamber fears workers may now decide to use their cars to travel into the city and that tourists are being affected.

"The long-term worry for us would be that if you're taking somebody off the Luas, they might be more inclined to jump into the car and they might make that switch long-term."

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