With rates of anti-social behaviour on public transport rising across Ireland, a ‘dedicated strategy’ is needed to bring Gardaí, public transport operators and Government together to stop this trend, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Incidences of anti-social behaviour on the LUAS increased from 593 in 2019 to 702 in 2020, according to figures released to Dublin Rathdown TD Deputy Neale Richmond.
Deputy Richmond said, “Anti-social behaviour on public transport is persisting across Ireland. We have all seen the videos of violence and harassment on public transport and time has come to take decisive action to curtail this problem.
“Statistics released to me via Parliamentary Questions show there has been an 18% increase in the incidence of anti-social behaviour on the LUAS, with a further 679 incidences occurring up to October this year, meaning we are on track for a further increase for 2021.
“Dublin Bus have fitted their fleet with CCTV and staff are trained to deal with anti-social behaviour but nevertheless incidents are still rising, with 514 in 2020, up from 494 in 2019.
“Following the revelation by my colleague Deputy Alan Farrell TD that vandalism to 211 Dart carriages has cost over €500,000 this year alone, this issue is clearly widespread across all modes of public transport.
“Considering that public transport use was curtailed for much of 2019 and 2020, this is deeply concerning and reveals that this is not a purely anecdotal issue, but one that is putting drivers and passengers in harm’s way.
“This issue has persisted for too long and with members of the National Bus and Rail Drivers Union considering strike action over anti-social behaviour, it is clear that action is needed.
“Gardaí are currently running Operation Citizen which prioritises high-visibility policing and results in more Gardaí on our streets. This effective approach must be replicated across public transport.
“The Minister for Justice has established an expert forum on anti-social behaviour which must urgently consider further action to address this rise in anti-social behaviour.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe on public transport and with the Christmas season approaching we cannot wait to address this issue but must ensure that action is taken now to ensure everyone’s safety.”