DUBLIN Bus will employ 70 new drivers early next year, with passenger numbers on the rise in 2013.
The new positions will be filled over the next three months, and it is the first time the semi-state has hired new staff since 2008.
The company announced that it expects to carry 115 million passengers by the end of 2013, with a significant growth in passenger numbers between October and December.
An additional 400,000 passengers will have travelled on buses around the capital in the final three months of the year, Dublin Bus said. The numbers are similar to figures for 2012 when passenger numbers stabilised after several years of decline.
However, a Dublin Bus spokesperson said the three days of industrial action by drivers this year resulted in a drop of around 1.5 million passengers, and would otherwise have resulted in a big increase on 2012 figures.
"Last year was a year when passenger numbers stabilised and this year we are seeing real signs of growth, and the figures offer a great platform for Dublin Bus to grow further into 2014," spokesperson Cliodhna Ni Fhatharta told the Irish Independent.
The three days of industrial action, taken by drivers in August, related to cost-cutting plans at the semi-state. Ms Ni Fhatharta said it was too soon to say which routes the new drivers would operate but confirmed the positions are already being advertised and anyone interested should log on to www.dublinbus.ie.
She said the laying on of additional services in peak times could become a more common occurrence as passenger numbers continue to rise.
Chief executive of the National Transport Authority Gerry Murphy described it as welcome news for passengers in Dublin.