The 5.9km (3.7-mile) Luas Cross City line from St. Stephen’s Green to Broombridge in Ireland’s capital was to open on 9 December. The new 13-stop route is being operated as an extension of the Green line with a basic service running from Bride’s Glen to the city centre, where alternate trams will turn on the one-way section between O’Connell Street Upper and Parnell Street, with remaining trams proceeding to Broombridge.
Construction of the line began in June 2013, with the EUR386m project completed to time and budget; major works were completed this summer and operator Transdev has recruited 29 new drivers for the service.
By 16 November the first of eight nine-section Alstom Citadis 502 trams (5027) had been received for the extension, with six more to follow. At nearly 55m long, they are amongst the longest trams in the world (as well as being the longest-ever Citadis variant) and platform lengthening works have been completed to accommodate them. The EUR36.5m tram order was placed by Transport Infrastructure Ireland in 2015 with the first due to enter service in February 2018.
An additional 1760 passengers per hour are expected in each direction on the extended Green line and Ireland’s government approved a further EUR100m to expand Sandyford depot and lengthen the existing 26 Green line Citadis trams to nine sections (an additional 12m) in November.
Recent surveys by the National Transport Authority (NTA) show that the Green line is operating at capacity in peak periods, with crowding taking place between the stops at Balally and Ranelagh.
In order to promote use of the Luas Cross City line, the NTA has introduced Luas Cross City Introductory Leap Card Off-Peak fares. These are to be available for one year and will cost EUR1 for an adult or student and EUR0.50 for a child. The promotional fare applies to travel outside peak hours Monday-Friday, within the following area: Parnell in the North, St. Stephen’s Green in the South, Jervis in the West and Busáras/Connolly/George’s Dock in the East. Other Luas cash fares were raised by an average of 5% from 1 December.