Extra security drafted in for Luas Red Line
SECURITY on the Luas Red Line has been dramatically increased to combat antisocial behaviour.
Luas operator Veolia Transport has stationed security personnel on the service from 10am until the last tram, seven days a week.
Problems relating to loitering and begging at stops -- as well passengers being under the influence of drugs -- have risen in recent months.
The difficulties are occurring mainly between Heuston and Busaras.
"We have increased security on the Luas Red Line," a spokeswoman for Veolia confirmed.
"The security starts at 10am and continues until the last tram at night. We have also increased the garda support. Gardai are travelling on the Luas Red Line on Thursday, Friday and Saturday," she told the Herald.
"There is a concentration [of the problems] at city centre stops from Heuston to Bus Aras. What it is [the increased security] is a response to day-to-day antisocial behaviour, not just on the Luas line but in the city centre," the spokeswoman added.
Part of the work of the security guards is to ask loiterers and beggars to move on.
STT Risk Management, the firm used by Veolia, has extensive experience of dealing with safety issues on public transport.
Among its other clients is Iarnrod Eireann.
While she did not have the exact figures, the spokeswoman said the beefed up security operation has led to a "sizeable increase in costs" to Veolia.
The company is also working with Merchant's Quay Ireland (MQI), which works with homeless people and drug addicts.
Veolia said it is looking at how it can help the voluntary group in its work.
"We offer our support and one of the things that they tell us is that there are not enough beds for people using hostels. We would support MQI's call for an increase in beds," the spokeswoman said.
Many people living in B&Bs and hostels have to leave their accommodation during the day and are not allowed to return until night-time, she added.
This can lead to people loitering in the city centre, the spokeswoman pointed out.
MQI's annual report found that there was a 9pc increase in people using its services last year.