Packed trams are rolling down O'Connell Street for the first time since 1949
Trams filled with passengers can be seen snaking down Dublin’s O’Connell Street for the first time since 1949.
The extended Luas Green Line finally opened its doors this afternoon.
The new service takes 21 minutes to get from Saint Stephen's Green to Cabra - passing through 13 new stops on the way.
It is hoped the new service will provide a big boost for businesses in the city - with operator Transdev hoping to welcome an extra 10 million passengers every year.
The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was joined by the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross and the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe in launching the line this morning.
He said the new service can make a real difference to life in the city:
“It is also going to help people get home that little bit early,” he said.
“Maybe that extra ten or 20 minutes every day.
“More time to spend with the kids; more time to watch; more time to spend in bed - all things that I think improve our lives.
The service includes eight stops in the city in the city centre making it simple to transfer between the Red and Green lines - and effectively allowing passengers to travel north, south, east on west by Luas.
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Agency, said it is a big win for business in the city centre:
She said passengers are being offered a special €1 fare for off-peak city centre journeys in the first 12 months of the service.
Part of the new extension loops back around the city centre area - and is set to operate every three to six minutes at peak times.
The line between St Stephen’s Green and Broombridge will operate every 10-15 minutes at peak times.
Test runs have been ongoing since June - with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists urged to take extra care as trams return to some of the busiest streets in the city.
Luas driver Garreth Irvine took control of the tram for its maiden voyage down O’Connell Street this morning.
He said drivers are well prepared for the challenge of Dublin’s inner city streets:
Mr Irvine’s journey made him the first person to drive a passenger-filled tram past the GPO in over 50 years.