Thursday, 22 September 2022
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
The safety and security of both public transport passengers and staff, including arrangements to deal with anti-social behaviour, are important matters that, first and foremost, must be managed by every public transport company, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána where appropriate. The National Transport Authority (NTA) is also engaged with public transport operators regarding the issue of anti-social behaviour.
The Department has also been engaging regularly with the NTA and the three CIÉ companies, on the issue of anti-social behaviour and a significant number of actions have been taken. These include;
- On the 29th of July, Iarnród Éireann, Transdev & An Garda Síochána carried out a joint awareness day (operation twintrack) to prevent anti-social behaviour on our services and to raise awareness of staying safe on public transport.
- Joint Garda & Iarnród Éireann high visibility public safety operations took place across the network over the Easter period with a number of fines issued. Reportable ASB incidents on Irish Rail have reduced from 654 in 2020 to 549 in 2021.
- IÉ Security Centre at Howth Junction - Iarnród Éireann have appointed a supervisory team who coordinates the security response in the Greater Dublin Area. Additionally, there is the deployment of public facing Security Teams in identified Anti-social behaviour hot spots across the DART and Rail Network.
- There are nine Rapid Response Hubs in operation across the IÉ Intercity Network with the latest, Mullingar, having come into operation on 9th May 2022 (The 9 locations: Mallow, Limerick Junction, Thurles, Portlaoise, Athlone, Kildare, Longford, Castlerea and Mullingar). These hubs are now fully operational with all onboard staff having dedicated phone numbers for each of the hub locations in the event they require assistance. These hubs provide reassurance for both staff and customers. The Kilkenny hub is also due to come into operation today, which will complete the first phase of this initiative, bringing the total number of Rapid Response Hubs in operation to ten. This means should on-board staff request assistance by calling ahead to the next Garda Rapid Response Hub, they will receive priority service to deal with any issue. Since coming into operation, this level of response from An Garda Síochána has had a very positive impact in reducing the potential for such passenger issues escalating.
- Iarnród Éireann have recruited a Security Enforcement & Compliance Manager and a Crime Prevention & Antisocial Behaviour Officer to design out crime.
- CCTV is available on most trains and has successfully been used on numerous occasions in securing prosecutions. They are also in place in stations.
- A DART text alert line has been established for discrete reporting of Anti-Social incidents.
- In respect of Dublin Services, Public Transport Hubs have been established for Heuston Plaza and Connolly Plaza. A third one at Broombridge, Cabra, will come into operation shortly. This is a Joint initiative between public transport providers Iarnród Éireann/Transdev (LUAS)/Dublin Bus/Bus Éireann and An Garda Síochána Community Engagement Units at Kevin Street, Store Street and Cabra.
- Transdev/ LUAS employ 50 security staff. These staff are involved in maintaining safety and security on the Luas, along with enforcing the Luas bye-laws. They liaise with An Garda Síochána regularly as part of their work.
- In relation to security on our public bus services, the entire Dublin Bus fleet is fully fitted with CCTV cameras, with up to 11 internal cameras and three external cameras fitted on the more modern vehicles in the fleet. Each vehicle is equipped with a radio, which facilitates immediate contact to the Central Control Centre.
- Dublin Bus has also re-introduced their Schools Education Programme (previously suspended due to Covid-19) which involves educating young people about the importance of the bus in their lives and in their local community. The work of their School and Community Co-ordinators has also proven highly successful in encouraging young people to respect their bus and has assisted greatly in the reduction of incidents of anti-social behaviour.
- Beyond this Dublin Bus has a strong and close working relationship with An Garda Síochána and have set up a number of community forums in different areas across the city. These forums are made up of Dublin Bus representatives, the Gardaí, local area representatives, community groups and Trade Union Representatives.
- Bus Éireann has similarly also invested in extensive CCTV coverage throughout its fleet for the protection of passengers and staff. Emergency support for drivers is provided through 24-hour control centres and any incidents of anti-social behaviour are fully investigated and followed up with An Garda Síochána as required.
- All Bus Éireann city and town buses are fitted with driver security screens. Security personnel are employed in our larger bus stations and extensive CCTV is also in operation throughout all stations to ensure the security of our staff, customers and property. Furthermore, customer research shows that 93% of Bus Éireann customers feel safe and secure during their journeys.
Further, the Third National Strategy for Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence references the implementation of specific Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence actions in the annual public transport passenger safety and personal security report (action 1.6.3 in the Implementation Plan). The NTA have advised that they are in the process of designing the report contents, with the detailed work due to be undertaken next year, which will supplement the Authority’s annual customer survey on satisfaction with their personal safety on board public transport as well as at the stop/station. The first Annual public transport passenger safety and personal security report will be delivered next year.
The combined interventions implemented to date across our public transport services have substantially helped to tackle anti-social behaviour; however, this is an issue which will require on-going monitoring. As such, I am committed to continuing to work collectively with all stakeholders to ensure the safest possible travel environment for members of the public, and the safest possible working environment for the employees providing our valuable public transport services.
88. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department will review train schedules and timetables between Cork and Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45982/22]
As the Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport; however, I am not involved in the day-to-day provision and operation of public transport.
The issue raised by the Deputy regarding train schedules and timetables between Cork and Limerick is an operational matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann and I have therefore forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.
Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.