Deputy Broughan was in contact recently with David Franks, Chief Executive of Irish Rail regarding the overcrowding on the DART to Howth during the increasingly popular Dublin Bay Prawn Festival. Deputy Broughan also raised a Parliamentary Question requesting that the number of carriages on the 4.55pm Bray to Howth DART service be increased from 4 to 6 in order to address the peak time overcrowding. In responses received from David Franks this week, confirmation was given that additional fleet came into operation on the 11th of April 2016.

The Dublin Bay Prawn Festival took place during the weekend of the 18th, 19th and 20th of March 2016 and a number of constituents were in contact with Deputy Broughan following these dates to complain of the lack of space on the DART carriages. Many constituents also often highlight the overcrowding during peak travel times. Following these queries Deputy Broughan contacted David Franks and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohue.

Regarding the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival, David Franks does acknowledge that Irish Rail underestimated “the large number of passengers who had gathered earlier than expected” in the city centre “which put pressure on train capacity for a time”. In his reply, David Frank gives his assurance that “there will not be a reoccurrence for this for the festival next year” and he provides a commitment “to providing maximum capacity” on regular services as well as putting on additional services.

On the 11th of April 2016, additional fleet came into operation and has increased capacity by 15% for morning and evening peak travel times and is the “largest operational fleet of carriages in operation since the implementation of the DART service in 1984”. As part of this additional fleet “the 4.55pm service from Bray to Howth has been increased to a 6 Car DART”.

Deputy Broughan says “I welcome the news of the increased fleet on DART services as it has been much needed for some time now. The Dublin Bay Prawn Festival is growing in popularity and indeed Howth itself is said to have up to 500,000 visitors per year. It is essential that our public transport systems are sufficient to meet the demand of those who prefer to leave their cars at home. Using public transport is of course much more beneficial to the environment and indeed the fragile environs of Dublin Bay North should be protected and maintained. The access to carriages during the morning and evening commutes must also be continuously monitored and maintained as with our projected population growth in coming years there will be increased demand for public transport. The issue of a 10 minute DART frequency timetable is also on Irish Rail’s agenda and subject to further discussions.”