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Bus Éireann investing €16m in Expressway services

The operator is buying 30 new low-emission coaches

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Bus Éireann CEO Stephen Kent

Bus Éireann CEO Stephen Kent

Bus Éireann CEO Stephen Kent

Bus Éireann has invested €16m in its Expressway inter-regional coach service, including buying 30 new low-emission coaches and a new €2.5m online booking system, MyExpressway.

The new buses will replace around one in five of the Xpressway fleet. 

The investment comes after the State-owned operator had been reducing services over the past year, amid a lockdown hit to passenger numbers but also under competitive pressure on key inter-city routes. Since September last, Bus Éireann has cut major routes connecting Cork, Limerick and Galway and connections between Dublin and those three cities. 

The company is emphasising regional connections rather than inter-city links with its latest investment. 

The first new Expressway enters into passenger service in Waterford and the new fleet will be deployed to Cork, Galway, Limerick, Stranorlar and Sligo, the company said.

The new investment is the most significant by Bus Éireann into Expressway in more than a decade and reduces the average age of the 170-strong fleet to less than five years.

“This is a big day for Expressway after a very tough 15 months. It is very positive to be announcing such a significant investment in our fleet as the country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Bus Éireann Chief Executive Officer Stephen Kent.

The new 60-seater coaches are built by VDL in The Netherlands and will be in service by the end of June, replacing around one in five of the existing fleet. The new fleet features reclining leather seats, charging plugs and air con at every seat, and 4G WiFi. All of the coaches are also wheelchair accessible and have on-board toilets.

The rollout of the new fleet comes ahead of the anticipated increase in demand in the coming months, including tourist and student travel which, combined, comprise half of Expressway’s market.

While Bus Éireann has reduced its express service the group added regional and local routes over the past year across the country funded by the National Transport Authority through the Government’s July stimulus. 

In December it announced new and upgraded town services for Navan and Drogheda town as well as in Cork city and Limerick city, and better connections for rural parts of Clare and Tipperary.

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