DUBLIN BUS HAS lost out in a tender to run 10% of its bus routes in the capital.
The semi-state company was in the running to operate the suburban routes, but the National Transport Authority (NTA) instead announced that British company Go-Ahead was the preferred bidder.
A memo to Dublin Bus employees from CEO Ray Coyne said that the company will now engage with the NTA to make sure the transition to the new operators is “smooth”.
It came as union officials warned further privatisation attempts would “inevitably lead to major industrial unrest” across public transport services.
Go-Ahead, which operates nearly a quarter of London’s buses, is due to take over 24 routes around Dublin as part of the tender. The company is expected to begin operating all of the routes by February 2019. The value of the tender was not disclosed.
The state will retain ownership of the bus fleet and the NTA has said there will be no redundancies at Dublin Bus as a result of the tender. The agency will continue setting fares and schedules on the routes, on which service levels are due to be increased 35%.
The NTA said the privatised bus routes would operate under the same contracting model used for Luas light-rail services in Dublin.
Unions, however, have been opposed to the plan, with the NBRU and Siptu both expressing concerns during the original consultation process.
NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said the government had “decided to pump significant amounts of taxpayers’ money into the bank accounts of multinational operators” despite Dublin Bus hitting its performance targets.
Meanwhile, in his memo to staff, Dublin Bus head Coyne assured staff that passenger numbers were still growing and the semi-state’s BusConnects project, which included high-frequency rapid transit buses, would see €1 billion pumped into improving its network.
“This commitment to continuously improve our services will ensure we maintain a key role in the development of public bus transport in the city now and in the future,” he said.
Reporting by Paul Hosford and Peter Bodkin