Bus Éireann deficit rose sharply in first two months of year

Deficit rises 41% to €2.2m versus €1.5m for same eight-week period last year

Bus Éireann’s acting chief executive Ray Hernan recently warned the company would be insolvent by the end of the current calendar year if losses continued at existing levels

Bus Éireann’s acting chief executive Ray Hernan recently warned the company would be insolvent by the end of the current calendar year if losses continued at existing levels

 

The deficit at troubled Bus Éireann jumped sharply in the first two months of the year, rising 41 per cent to €2.2 million versus €1.5 million for the same period last year, new accounts show.

The accounts reveal total revenues rose 3 per cent from €27.6 million to €28.4 million in the first eight weeks of the year due to a 14 per cent rise in the Public Service Obligation (PSO) subvention grant to €6.6 million.

Revenues from operations were flat at €21.7 million, with turnover from the company’s Expressway services down 5 per cent.

The deficit in the first two months was pushed up by a €437,000 exceptional cost largely due to voluntary severance payments. Excluding this the net deficit in the first two months was €1.77 million, up 14 per cent on the corresponding period in 2016.

Bus Éireann’s acting chief executive Ray Hernan recently warned the company would be insolvent by the end of the current calendar year if losses continued at existing levels.

The accounts, presented to a recent board meeting, show an operating deficit after receipt of the PSO payment of €8 million last year and a net loss of €9.5 million.

Average pay

Total expenditure in the first two months, excluding fuel-related costs, rose 6 per cent to €26 million from €24.6 million. Fuel and lubricants expenditure declined 11 per cent due to lower hedged rates, while operating costs rose 3 per cent to €17 million.

Insurance claims rose 137 per cent reflecting higher costs, while maintenance costs fell 2 per cent over the same period. Central services/administration expenditure was up 22 per cent, while depreciation costs jumped due to the addition of new fleet.

Earlier this week Bus Éireann admitted it has been unable to pay some school bus operators because of the ongoing strike by its workers. The news comes as Minister for Transport Shane Ross faces renewed pressure over his handling of the dispute.

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