IRISH RAIL has plans to introduce a text alert system for passengers along with the expansion of CCTV in a bid to stamp out anti-social behaviour.
There has been a wave of complaints in recent months about anti-social behaviour on trains as well as open drug use by some passengers.
The Echo reported in March that the National Bus and Rail Union were calling for a dedicated transport police after open cocaine use was reported on Cork trains.
Trains in Dublin, in particular, have experienced an increase in anti-social behaviour, sparking Irish Rail into action.
Cork man Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, said drivers and customer service workers on trains cannot deal with drunk and drugged-up passengers.
“The message is that customer service personnel would somehow act as a deterrent or some sort of barrier against some of the appalling anti-social behaviour and outright thuggery being experienced across our train system,” he said.
“Nothing would be further from reality.”
Yesterday, Irish Rail’s spokesperson Barry Kenny, told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that this year will also see the doubling of security patrols.
He said that most of the 48 million journeys undertaken by Irish Rail passengers occur without incident.
However, he acknowledged that the issue is worsening “that’s why we’re putting additional resources to tackling it, there is a seasonal factor involved as we come into summer months.”
When asked about the possibility of a text alert service, he said “that is something we are hoping to introduce in the coming weeks to allow customers to discreetly raise an alert, we’re working with a security provider at the moment to ensure that we have the resources in place to deal with this properly.”
“We would have a live monitoring centre at all times that the Dart operates to enable us to respond and despatch security teams then to that.
“We’re also working with the Gardaí — there is a railway advisory council, it involves rail safety regulators, ourselves, Luas, trade unions, where issues like this can be addressed.
“They will have specific initiatives this year to support us — visibility is a huge factor in terms of giving greater confidence to people when they travel with us, at all times of the day.”