Go-Ahead fined €70k for late or unreliable bus services

National Transport Authority says Dublin Bus will pay €280k for failure to operate as scheduled

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is to fine private bus operator Go-Ahead more than €70k for failures to deliver services reliably and on time, it has emerged.

In a letter to Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy, the NTA said it would be deducting the sum over a failure to meet targets. It follows a number of complaints about the service from politicians and commuters.

In the letter, the chief executive of the NTA Anne Graham confirmed that Dublin Bus has also be fined €280k this year for failure to operate scheduled services.

In total since mid-2016, Dublin Bus has been fined more than €3m.

Irish Rail was also fined €652k as a result of non-operation of services due to industrial action in 2017, it has emerged.

This means bus and train operators will have been fined by nearly €4m by the end of the year since mid 2016 for failure to show up or leave on time.

"In accordance with the terms of their contracts with the NTA, Go Ahead Ireland, Dublin Bus and Iarnrod Eireann are required to meet targets in relation to punctuality, reliability and service quality and the operators are liable to deductions in the event that the targets set out in the relevant contracts are not met," Ms Graham wrote.

“However the NTA does not impose deductions on operators where the failure to meet the agreed target was outside their control due to events such as severe weather, roads closures, abnormal traffic congestion or anti-social behavior.’

Go-Ahead only commenced operations of routes previously run by Dublin Bus in September 2018.

“An amount of €34,739 is due to be deducted from the operator for failing to achieve the agreed target in respect of punctuality in periods 5 and 6 of 2019,” Ms Graham wrote.

Some €37,030 is also due to be deducted from the operator for failing to achieve the agreed target in respect of reliability in three periods of 2019. There are 13 periods in every year, she said.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit deputy for Dún Laoghaire, previously said his constituents were particularly affected by issues with Go-Ahead.

He said his office continued to receive complaints about Go-Ahead-operated routes - particularly about punctuality and buses failing to turn up.

Pensioners and children trying to the get to school were particularly affected he said. The most complained about routes, he added, were the number 59 from Dún Laoghaire to Killiney, the 63 from Dún Laoghaire to Kilternan and the 111 from Dalkey to Brides Glen.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times