From the 1850s, horse-drawn omnibuses provided transport along South Richmond Street from Rathmines to the city centre. On 6 October 1871 work was commenced on the Dublin tram system on Rathmines Road, a few yards from Portobello Bridge. They came into operation the following year, linking Rathgar, via Richmond Street, with College Green. There was just one standard fare within the city limits, which was much cheaper than the old horse-drawn omnibuses.
That year also the long-awaited improvements to Portobello Bridge (after the fatal accident of 1861) were carried out, the Tramway Company paying one third of the total cost of £300.
At the time the trams were introduced an impediment to efficient transport along Richmond Street was the curve in the street at Moyer's building works (west corner of Lennox Street, was part of the Portobello College complex until its demolition in 2006). The constant traffic in and out of Moyer's blocked the traffic at this narrow spot. Despite complaints, the curve was never removed, and is there to this day.