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Sunday 18 March 2018

Blow for Dublin Bus as UK firm wins contract for 24 routes in capital

National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham. Picture:
National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham. Picture:
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

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.

Analysis: Questions remain on why services were outsourced

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.

Routes affected

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

Irish Independent

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