Bus Éireann seeks bus only lanes on motorways
Bus Éireann also wants National Transport Authority to focus more on services outside Dublin
The State-owned transport company says it wants to rebuild its commercial intercity Expressway brand and network of services with faster times and more competitive fares
Bus Éireann is seeking to have lanes on motorways, including the M50 in Dublin, reserved exclusively for public transport vehicles.
In proposals submitted in recent days to the National Transport Authority for its 2018-22 strategy, the State-owned transport company called for the provision of bus-priority measures on the main public transport corridors.
It said these should include designating lanes for buses and higher occupancy vehicles on motorways into Dublin city and in provincial cities and towns.
The Bus Éireann submission suggests that more focus should be given by the National Transport Authority to services outside the capital as part of a multiannual capital investment programme.
It said the objectives and milestones set for the existing 2015/2017 strategy were focused entirely on the greater Dublin area, “with no mention of other regions”.
Bus Éireann said its work programmes were focussed on growing passenger numbers and capacity on its core network as the economy continued to expand “supported by fleet replacement, facilities and infrastructure investment”.
The company experienced a damaging three-week strike this year over plans by management to implement cost-saving measures in the loss-making company.
The company in its submission said it wanted to rebuild its commercial intercity Expressway brand and network of services with faster times and more competitive fares.
Much of the company’s financial difficulties have been brought about as a result of intense competition from private operators using the motorway network, and in the submission Bus Éireann warned again about overcapacity in the sector.
It said it was supportive of a commercial licensing policy that was based on a sustainable approach to matching emerging supply and demand patterns. However, Bus Éireann said it was “concerned that this sustainable balance is not being achieved on certain inter-regional/intercity corridors, and that overcapacity is putting operators under considerable financial pressure in what is already a low-margin competitive environment”.
In the short to medium term, the bus operator says additional funding for public service obligation services outside of the Dublin area was required.
It said a clear, consistent and funded vehicle-replacement policy over a five to 10-year period was needed.
It also proposed investment in bus shelters and customer facilities in stations around the State, as well as new technologies for fare-ticketing systems.
Bus Éireann said it would support a new strategy for public transport services outside the Dublin metropolitan area. This should include minimum service frequencies for bus services from Dublin to larger metropolitan and hinterland towns. There should be similar approaches for the main provincial cities as well as local bus services for larger towns, linking to the town centre and onward public transport connections, and adjacent smaller towns.
The company suggested that there should be a transition to a fare system that facilitated multi-leg and multi-modal journeys, as well as an expansion of the Leap card ticket system not just within Dublin city but in the greater Dublin area and surrounding counties.
Bus Éireann also said the planning process should be developed “to ensure that no new home in an urban area is more than 800m from a bus, tram or rail stop, with a shorter distance of 500m to be targeted wherever feasible”.