Blow for Dublin Bus as UK firm wins contract for 24 routes in capital
Dublin Bus has lost the right to operate 24 routes across the city from November next year despite submitting a lower- priced bid than the firm which won the contract.
The Irish Independent understands that the State-owned company scored higher than UK firm Go-Ahead on price in a competitive tendering process overseen by the National Transport Authority (NTA), but ranked lower on technical aspects.
The NTA refused to comment, but has said it will release details of the contract in the coming months. It comes after it announced that 10pc of the Dublin Bus network will be operated by Go-Ahead from November 2018, with a full switchover by February 2019.
The move will have no impact on customers, the NTA said, with chief executive Anne Graham insisting it would result in improved services. Fares will remain the same, the free travel scheme will remain in place and the only change will be that buses on the affected routes will have a different livery.
"This is ultimately about improving bus services for Dublin and the NTA is confident that passengers will benefit from this decision," she said.
"We believe that a new operator in the market will bring a fresh dimension to the way that services are offered.
"Under the provisions of the tender, not only will service levels on the routes in question be maintained, they will actually be increased by about 35pc. So passengers in areas served by these routes have absolutely no reason to worry about this change. Matters such as fares, frequency and scheduling for the service will all be set by the NTA, and not the operator."
Go-Ahead operates a range of regional bus services across the UK, and accounts for 7pc of the market. The company also operates services on behalf of Transport for London.
The NTA said it could not outline the savings which would be generated from the outsourcing of routes at this stage, but has previously said that operating costs could drop by as much as 30pc.
The operator will be paid a fixed fee through the PSO payment made by the Government to the NTA each year, and payments will be withheld if service levels suffer.
On some outsourced routes, additional services will be provided by the new operator, and one new route is being introduced - the 175 from Citywest to UCD.
The NTA said that Dublin Bus would grow its services, and no drivers would be obliged to transfer to Go-Ahead under a deal struck with unions.
The National Bus and Rail Union said it would seek to represent workers at Go-Ahead, and work to secure terms and conditions at the same level as those in Dublin Bus.
Dublin Bus was the only other company which made a formal bid, and said it was disappointed not to secure the contract. Chief executive Ray Coyne said the firm would "examine the outcome" of the tender process.
Under the terms of the deal, Go-Ahead must provide a depot, but the NTA will supply buses.
17 Rialto - Blackrock
17A Blanchardstown Centre - Kilbarrack
18 Palmerstown (Old Lucan Rd) - Sandymount
33A Swords - Skerries/Balbriggan
33B Swords - Portrane
45A Dún Laoghaire Dart Station - Kilmacanogue
59 Dún Laoghaire - Killiney
63 Dún Laoghaire - Kilternan
75 The Square Tallaght - Dún Laoghaire
76 Chapelizod - The Square Tallaght
76A Blanchardstown Centre - The Square Tallaght
102 Sutton Station - Dublin Airport
104 Clontarf Rd (Conquer Hill) - DCU
111 Brides Glen Luas Station towards Dalkey
114 Ticknock - Blackrock Station
161 Dundrum Luas Station - Rockbrook/Tibradden
175 (New route) Citywest - UCD
184 Bray Rail Station - Newtownmountkennedy
185 Bray Rail Station - Shop River
220 Ballymun Shangan Road - Lady's Well Road
236 Blanchardstown Station - Damastown
238 Tyrrelstown - Lady's Well Road
239 Blanchardstown Centre - Liffey Valley Shopping Centre
270 Blanchardstown - Dunboyne