Hundreds of thousands of commuters and bus users are facing the first day of strike chaos as Dublin Bus workers shut down the network over a pay dispute.
Amid calls for the Government to increase funding for the company to resolve the increasingly bitter row, the city is braced for two days of traffic gridlock.
Green Line: No service between Brides Glen and Carrickmines due to power line fault @ Laughanstown. See https://t.co/gfh0TeTdPh— Luas (@Luas) September 8, 2016
All services running with full available capacity being utilised. Customers are advised services are v.busy & DB tickets not valid on trains— Iarnród Éireann (@IrishRail) September 8, 2016
The walkout by members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu is the first of three 48-hour stoppages planned for this month.
It was due to begin at 12.01am today, but the last services ran three hours earlier to ensure engineers and supervisors were in depots as the fleet was locked up.
Dublin Bus said it was a health and safety issue and apologised to customers.
Union leaders also apologised for the disruption, but their battle for 15% pay increases over three years is buoyed by the successful fight by Luas drivers and inspectors earlier this year following a protracted dispute.
Gardai warned motorists not to use bus lanes even though no buses are running.
BUS STRIKES: Drivers NOT permitted to use bus lanes today & tomorrow. Lanes used by other buses, cyclists & taxis https://t.co/qvBPcggiUy— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) September 8, 2016
Further strikes are planned on September 15 and 16 and again on September 23 and 24, and pickets are being held in Clontarf, Conyngham Road, Harristown, Ringsend, Phibsboro, Donnybrook and Summerhill and the head office in O'Connell Street.
The shutdown is hitting Airlink services to Dublin Airport, all city services, the Ghostbus Tour on Wednesday, Nitelink buses on Friday and Saturday and all sightseeing services.
Business lobbyists with Retail Ireland said bus users account for about 42% of the money spent in shops in Dublin city.
Director Thomas Burke said: "Cutting off such a vital service will undoubtedly have an impact on city centre footfall and trading levels during the days of industrial action.
"The prospect of ongoing stoppages in services during September is a cause for great concern and must be avoided."