herald

Friday 21 September 2018

No public transport, 'don't drive' warning and planes grounded

A woman trudges through heavy snow in Lucan. Photo: Colin Keegan
A woman trudges through heavy snow in Lucan. Photo: Colin Keegan

All public transport in the capital will be cancelled from 2pm today.

Dublin Bus confirmed it is operating no services at all due to the blizzard.

It finished all of its services at 7pm last night.

Other modes of transport are set to wind down over the course of the morning and early afternoon to ensure staff are able to get home safely before the 4pm stay-indoors warning kicks in.

Here is the lie of the land for each of the transport services operating in Dublin and across the country.

Buses

Dublin Bus has cancelled all of its services for today.

"Due to the latest forecast issued by Met Eireann for heavy snowfall overnight and blizzard conditions on Thursday, combined with existing road conditions, Dublin Bus will not be in a position to operate any services on Thursday, March 1," a statement read.

Trains

Irish Rail and Dart services are due to wind down between noon and 2pm today, but will operate as planned up until this time, "once it is safe to do so", a spokesman said.

Irish Rail will monitor conditions this morning to decide whether services will have to be cancelled before the planned cut-off.

Train services will not be back up and running until around 24 hours later.

"The alert is to midday on Friday, so the likelihood is services won't be back until then, if it is safe to do so," the spokesman added.

Cars

AA Roadwatch is advising drivers to stay off the roads during the worst of the conditions today.

Spokesman Conor Faughnan said only emergency vehicles should be out and about during that period.

"One of the questions I was asked today was, 'How do you drive in a blizzard?' The answer is you don't," he said.

"The strong advice to drivers is not be on the road during the worst of it."

Mr Faughnan also advised motorists to make sure their insurance policies are up to date ahead of the blizzard.

"The key message for motorists is to adapt your driving to the weather conditions, be on the lookout for vulnerable road users and make sure your windscreen, windows and mirrors are fully de-iced before you start your journey," Mr Faughnan said.

"The best advice is to add an extra 15 minutes on to your normal commute and use that extra time to get your windows clear, as well as making allowances for the extra traffic you are likely to see on key routes."

Planes

Major disruptions at Dublin Airport yesterday are expected to continue today, with Aer Lingus saying it expects to have a large number of cancellations.

However, it plans to operate most of its flights to the US and Canada.

Ryanair said some flights have already been cancelled from Dublin and Cork today.

Both major airlines are advising customers to check their flight status online.

By 4.30pm yesterday, almost 440 flights had been cancelled at Dublin Airport.

"Ryanair cancelled its flights for the day and Aer Lingus cancelled its short-haul operation to the UK and Euro- pean airports," said a spokesperson.

"When the snow is falling quicker than it can be cleared, with zero visibility on the airfield, it's a major challenge.

"A further snowfall resulted in the runway being contaminated, so it was taken out of operation for 45 minutes while it was swept and sprayed with de-icing fluid and reopened at 10.45am".

Stephen Forsyth (28) was left reeling when his move to Australia was put on ice due to the impact of the Beast from the East.

The Dun Laoghaire man said an emotional goodbye to his family yesterday morning, only to learn that his flight had been cancelled.

"There are six of us travelling together and to hear that our stopover flight to Helsinki had been cancelled is very disappointing," he said.

"There's no way I can go back home now - we've already said our tearful goodbyes and can't do it again.

"Maybe it's a sign for us not to go to Australia."

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