Dublin’s iconic Luas light rail service will celebrate its 20th birthday on 30 June, with 2024 set to see its total number of passengers surpass 50 million for the first time.

Providing safe and reliable transport for millions of passengers

The Luas line has expanded significantly since making its maiden journey along the Green Line from Sandyford to St Stephen’s Green, today stretching to 43km and servicing 67 stops across the city. In its 20 years, it has carried more than 650 million passengers and, remarkably, more than 400,000 Dubliners now live within 1km of a Luas stop, fuelling the increasing demand for the public transport service. As well as its excellent safety and reliability record when compared to city tram services around the world, the Luas has had a hugely positive impact on Dubliners’ environmental footprint, producing zero emissions at street level.

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said:
“I was lucky enough to be on the very first Luas journey taken 20 years ago. It was such a landmark day because it opened up parts of the old Harcourt Line again to the people of South Dublin, but this time with a new modern and reliable light rail service. Since that first trip on the Green Luas, we have added the Red Luas, serving communities out to the southwest of the city, and then we connected the two lines and further extended the Green Line to Broombridge and Cherrywood. The Luas, with its signature sound as it glides along, has become as synonymous with Dublin as many of the city’s other well-known landmarks.
“The success of Luas has been phenomenal and shows that people enthusiastically choose sustainable travel when it is provided. I look forward to the service’s continued success and expansion. The light rail system will continue to play a key role as we implement the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy and in achieving our decarbonisation goals. It also serves as a great model for the other light rail projects that we plan for our regional cities.”

20 years of LUAS success

From day one, demand for the service exceeded expectations, with thousands of people lining the streets to hop aboard for their first of many Luas journeys. Eddie Byrne drove that first tram in 2004 and has since enjoyed a 20-year career of training every Luas driver who’s followed him – more than 400 in total.
Commenting on the Luas’s 20th anniversary and the growth of the service over that time, Eddie said:
“From that very first trip in 2004, it has been an incredible pleasure to play a small part in some extraordinary Luas stories. From transporting the bride and groom on the happiest day of their lives, concert-goers to see their heroes, and essential front-line staff during the difficult times of Covid-19, we really have seen it all over the past 20 years. The extensions to the trams and the lines are great indicators of how successful the Luas has been for the people of Dublin. Driving the Luas and training the next generation of drivers has given me a fascinating insight into our wonderful city and I know it’ll continue to play a key role in the fabric of Dublin for many years to come.”

Growth of the LUAS network

The Luas network has continually grown to serve communities across Dublin, opening fast, reliable access to jobs and recreational activities to a huge number of people.
Key expansion works to date have included:

As Dublin’s population continues to grow over the coming years, the Luas will expand further to meet growing demand. The next stage in this evolution will be the extension of the Green Line to Finglas, with work currently underway on its final design.

Commenting on plans to continue to expand the Luas and ensure it is ready to meet the demands of an ever-growing Dublin population, TII’s CEO Peter Walsh said:
“Luas is a piece of transport infrastructure that Ireland can feel proud about. TII delivered the project on time and on budget and it has reliably provided accessible mobility service for 20 years and will continue to do so. My hope is that the benefits that Luas has delivered are sufficient evidence that there is support for the provision of more of this form of zero emission transport for the country.”

The role of Transdev in delivering the service

The Luas has been operated by Transdev since opening in 2004, with their international expertise playing a key role in delivering the reliable service we see today. Transdev Dublin Light Rail Ltd CEO, Ben Dwars, said:
“Dublin has changed so much in the past 20 years, and so many aspects of the growth of the city have been reflected in the development of the Luas. The many extensions linking the Lines in the city centre have helped to create a busy network. We now have more than 700 staff working on the Luas, keeping our fleet of 81 trams on track and providing a frequent and reliable service. We are incredibly proud of our delivery over the past 20 years of Luas services to communities and we’re excited for the future.”

Looking to the future

CEO of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham said:
“The LUAS has truly transformed public transport in Dublin over the past 20 years, providing a fast, reliable and sustainable mode of transportation for thousands of commuters daily.
In 2023 alone, the service carried 48.2 million passengers to their destinations across Dublin and the numbers are growing. As we celebrate this milestone, we look forward to continuing to innovate and improve the system to serve our city even better in the years to come.”