Bus routes which could be privatised are advertised

Government plans to open 10% of public bus routes to market despite union opposition

Details of 28 Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann routes that could be privatised have been made available to prospective new bus operators.

The National Transport Authority has advertised 23 routes currently operated by Dublin Bus, and five Bus Éireann routes to and from Dublin, for which it will be seeking bids.

The Government plans to open up 10 per cent of public bus routes to the market, despite opposition from unions representing transport workers, which have warned of industrial action if privatisation goes ahead.

Talks between the National Bus and Rail Union, Siptu, the transport authority and management from both bus companies are ongoing at the Labour Relations Commission, with the next round of negotiations set for Monday.


Single operator

The routes have been advertised in two separate lots, one relating to the 23 Dublin Bus routes and the other for the five Bus Éireann routes.

Companies can express an interest in either or both routes, but for each route, a single operator is being sought rather than multiple operators. Interested companies must complete a questionnaire by April 17th to be considered for the bidders’ list.

Peak times

The 23 Dublin Bus routes are currently serviced by 88 double-deck buses at peak times, and carry about nine million passengers a year.

None terminate in the city centre and are primarily orbital routes, or services carrying commuters from rail stations or large shopping centres to suburbs.

The five Bus Éireann routes are all Dublin commuter services, primarily from Kildare to Dublin city centre. Four of the routes serve Naas, with one of the buses extending to Athy and another to Portlaoise. The fifth service is an Offaly to Dublin route, running from Tullamore to Edenderry to Dublin.

The five routes are currently serviced by 28 coaches, with about 1.2 million passenger journeys taken a year.

The authority expects to offer a five-year contract with a possible two-year extension to the successful bidder for either lot. The contracts might not be awarded to private bidders, as Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann will be permitted to tender to keep the routes.

Tenders will also be sought for six Waterford routes currently operated by Bus Eireann.

Routes affected

Dublin Bus routes

17 Rialto to Blackrock

17a Blanchardstown Centre to Kilbarrack

18 Palmerstown(Old Lucan Road)to Sandymount

33a Swords to Balbriggan

33b Swords to Portrane

45a Dún Laoghaire(Rail Station)to Ballywaltrim

59 DúnLaoghaire to MackintoshPark

63 DúnLaoghaire to Kilternan

75 The Square Tallaght to Dún Laoghaire

76 Chapelizod to Tallaght (The Square)

76a Blanchardstown Centre to Tallaght (TheSquare)

102 Sutton station to Dublin Airport

104 Clontarf Road(Conquer Hill)to Santry (Shanard Road)

111 Loughlinstown Park to Dún Laoghaire

114 Ticknock to Blackrock Station

161 Dundrum Luas Station to Rockbrook

184 Bray Rail station to Newtownmountkennedy

185 Bray Railstation to Shop River (Enniskerry)

220 Ballymun (Shangan Road) to Lady's Well Road

236 Blanchardstown Centre to Damastown

238 Tyrrelstown to Lady's Well Road

239 Blanchardstown Centre to Liffey Valley Shopping Centre

270 Blanchardstown Centre to Dunboyne

Bus Éireann routes

120 Dublin–Edenderry–Tullamore

123 Dublin–Naas

124 Dublin–Naas–Portlaoise

126 Dublin–Naas

130 Dublin–Naas–Athy

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times