Text: Izzy Copestake
Night Luas For Life, Not Just For Christmas
The night Luas is back, baby, and it’s making going out over Christmas much easier. If you’re lucky enough to live on either the red or green Luas lines, you might have already made use of this festive joy last weekend. The night services were agreed to run late on 15/12, 16/12, 22/12, 23/12, and New Year’s Eve, with some customers able to jump on a Luas as late as 3.30 am in the centre of town.
Sadly, the Luas only takes on this fun, nocturnal alter-ego for five nights a year in December. This begs the question: shouldn’t Dublin get functioning late night public transport every weekend, not just at Christmas? The benefits are immense. Just 35% of Dublin taxi drivers said they worked after midnight, so getting home safely after a night in town after midnight has recently become an expensive Free-Now lottery, with many left stranded. Functioning late night public transport would also tackle the safety issue head on. We saw a rise in reports of violent attacks at night in the city centre this year, and unsurprisingly, in our nightlife survey 59% of respondents stated that they felt unsafe returning home from nights out. The night Luas would boost the night-time economy, and encourage people to stay in the city centre past midnight, without dreading the moment they have to drop €20 on a taxi… that is if it even comes.
Last summer, the National Transport Agency announced that it will not offer a 24-hour Luas anytime soon, despite mass support and calls from the Minister for Transport to investigate the issue. At the time of the announcement, a spokesperson stated that cleaning and essential maintenance “can only be carried out when all trams are out of service”. Therefore, “further extending hours of service would, by definition, reduce the amount of time available for maintenance work, which could result in a diminution of services at other times of the week.” Yet miraculously, a late timetable works around Christmas.
Last weekend, the late Luas service improved safety, enthusiasm to stay out later, and the bottleneck of taxis in town dramatically. It’s clear that with the right level of support, the Luas could run late night services all year round. Dublin deserves functioning late night transport, for more than 5 days a year.
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