Most people do not think twice about using the DART. But if you are mobility impaired, DART journeys can be off limits.
On Tuesday of this week the lifts at Dunboyne, Bayside, Seapoint, Connolly, Sandycove, Tara St, Rush and Lusk were all out of order.
At Clontarf Road, on Wednesday a young wheelchair user found the lift not working.
Recently, it was reported that another disabled commuter was “driven to tears” after getting trapped on the DART due to a lack of staff to assist her.
Saoirse Smith, who has cerebral palsy, says she “sometimes feels like a second- class citizen” due to Dublin’s lack of wheelchair accessibility.
Saoirse relies on the train to travel to Blackrock every day for work, but she has run into a host of problems on the service.
She was recently “embarrassed” when forced to hold up the DART for over 15 minutes due to the lack of staff to help her at Connolly Station.
“It’s ridiculous in this day and age, everyone should have the right to go from A to B every time. I sometimes feel like a second- class citizen in my own country.”
The newly formed DART Access for All group will hold a protest outside Clontarf Dart Station on Friday 26 July at 11 am to highlight the lack of access to the Dart for wheelchair users.
According to disability rights activist and local People before Profit representative, Bernard Mulvany, who initiated this campaign: “The government says that people should be cycling or walking more and leaving cars at home. This is not an option for disabled people. Public transport is vital for them”.
“It is simply unacceptable that access for the disabled is denied on public transport system like the DART”.
Saoirse Smith will be speaking at Friday’s protest, along with blogger and wheelchair activist Sean O’ Kelly, Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd- Barrett, disability rights activist Kate O’Brien, representatives from the Central Remedial Clinic and other organisations involved with disability services and
Richard Bruton, the Minister for Climate Action is a local TD of the Clontarf area and the group plans to bring the issue of transport discrimination to his attention .
The group is calling for DART station lifts to be working so that disabled people have access like everyone else.” If this means that there needs to be extra staff at the DART stations to protect the lifts from being vandalised, then that’s what needs to be done” says Bernard.
“Open and free access to public transport should be a core part of the government’s commitment to tackle climate change.”
Come along on Friday and show your support.