Recently wheelchair users have been protesting at DART stations to highlight the lack of accessibility and ongoing issues with broken lifts. Deputy Broughan has made many representations to Irish Rail over the years due to the consistent problems with the lifts at the Howth Junction/Donaghmede DART Station. Deputy Broughan, this week, received a response to his Parliamentary Question about the frequency of the lift breakdowns at this station and the cost of repairs.
The Chief Executive of Irish Rail, Jim Meade, said that the cost of repairs to the lifts at this busy station had reduced from €46,000 in 2017 to €1,850 in 2018 due to the installation of the lift passenger call remote monitoring system in 2017. This system was installed to “help reduce vandalism and anti-social behaviour issues”. The repair costs in 2019, however, have already reached €3,390. The system works by locking off the lift and securing it until it is called into service. The reply from Mr Meade says “In essence, the lift gives the appearance of being locked and passengers can call the lift via the help-point button (SOS button) next to the door of the lift which is actively monitored.”
During 2018 there were 12 lift call outs and there were 6 lift call outs up to the end of July 2019. The reply also says that in 2018, there were “4 misuse calls where doors had been forced open” and in 2019, there have been “two misuse calls due to rusted door tracks that had to be replaced.”
Deputy Broughan says “It is welcome that Irish Rail introduced a measure to reduce vandalism of the lift at Howth Junction/Donaghmede station. Access to the lift is of huge importance to people with mobility issues and those travelling with young children in buggies. I have received many complaints over the years about these lifts being out of order. While the reduced repair cost is welcome, it does highlight the need for the station to have a constant presence of security personnel. Wheelchair users should not be blocked from accessing any public transport and Irish Rail and the Minister for Transport have a responsibility to ensure that transport is available to all who need it, when they need it. This small improvement is welcome but much more needs to be done. I hope to see accessibility measures being provided for in Budget 2020.”
Deputy Broughan also received a notice from Irish Rail on August 14th of major railway track maintenance work for Kilbarrack/Howth Junction during September and mid-November. Residents can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for updates or issues during the works which are expected to take place overnight.