More than 20 Dublin Bus routes to be privatised
Bus Éireann commuter routes in the capital and Waterford services also included
Dublin Bus routes orbiting the city, some local Dublin Bus services and Bus Éireann commuter routes to the capital, as well as others in Waterford, face privatisation under plans to be announced today.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) decided the final routes which will be opened up to competition at a board meeting last week, and tenders are due to be published in the coming days.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael parliamentary party of the move last week, but there was some concern about making the announcement public in advance of the Labour Party conference in Killarney at the weekend.
The conference debated motions on public transport, with some delegates opposing privatisation.
Under the NTA plans, contracts won’t be awarded until 2015, with the private companies possibly operating the routes at the end of 2016.
The Government has already agreed that some routes must be opened up to competition to comply with EU directives and the NTA has already said it will allow private bus operators compete for 10 per cent of the market.
For Bus Éireann routes, there had been some consideration of including Cork city services or bundling services from Cork and Waterford, along with some Dublin services, in the packages to be tendered.
However, the final list only includes services around Waterford and commuter routes from Dublin to Tullamore, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Kildare and Athy.
The Waterford routes affected include Ballybeg to The Quay, St John’s Park to Patrick Street, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) to The Quay, Carrickphierish Road to the Quay, Oakwood to Waterford Regional Hospital and the Waterford to Tramore route, which operates via WIT.
The Dublin Bus routes do not include any routes directly into the city centre, and are comprised entirely of orbital and local services.
These include routes between Rialto and Blackrock, Chapelizod to The Square shopping centre in Tallaght, Dublin Airport to Skerries, Bray train station to Newtownmountkennedy and Shop River and numerous routes out of Dún Laoghaire.