Statement from Bus Éireann

Bus Éireann has today (March 10th 2010) said that the implementation of the next stage of the first phase of changes to services with low customer support under its cost recovery plan as recommended by the Labour Court and independent consultants Deloitte will start on March 28th 2010. The changes will see a reduction in frequency and/or a change in routing on 18 routes and one route withdrawn.

In recent years, Bus Éireann has significantly expanded its network of services across the country. However, the economic downturn has seen a significant drop in demand for public transport because of the fall in the number of people in work, the drop in the number of non-Irish nationals in the country, the significant slowdown in retailing and a substantial reduction in the number of tourists visiting Ireland. This has resulted in Bus Éireann customer numbers falling by over 10 per cent in 2009, which has impacted negatively on the company’s revenues and means it can no longer afford to operate the same high level of services as it has previously given the funding available to it.

As a responsible commercial semi-State, Bus Éireann must address this situation by further reducing its cost base and bringing service levels in line with falling demand. According to an independent review by Deloitte, which was commissioned by the Department of Transport, because Bus Éireann is efficient “it will not be possible to make major cost savings on the Bus Éireann network without reducing services”.

The cost recovery plan is designed to protect as many services and jobs as possible so that Bus Éireann can continue to provide transport to the considerable number of people throughout the country who use our services every day, while returning the company to a stronger financial position.

Changes to services with low customer support are being introduced on a phased basis and the majority of changes will be to the frequency and/or the routing of services.

Unfortunately, there are a small number of services throughout the country that have very low customer support and given the current economic environment and the limit to the operational funds available to the company these services are no longer sustainable.

Such services often have five passengers or less per departure. In many such cases, the fare revenue from these customers doesn’t even cover the fuel for the bus let alone the wages for the driver or the maintenance of the vehicle. Bus Éireann must curtail such services otherwise it would have no alternative but to make changes to services that have much higher levels of support.

In making these changes, Bus Éireann will seek to minimise their impact on its customers and its integrated network as much as possible.

The level of further changes required will depend on the savings that can be achieved in earlier phases.

It is with great regret that Bus Éireann has to take this action, but it is unavoidable and necessary given the deterioration in the economy over the last 18 months and the subsequent fall in customer numbers. The company is acutely aware of the difficulties these changes may cause for customers. However, implementation of the cost recovery plan, which follows on-going cost reducing measures over recent years, is vital to ensuring the continuance of as many of our 330 routes as possible.

Safety and customer service will, as always, remain the company’s priorities.

Information on service changes will be available from local travel centres and viewable at Further service changes will be announced in advance of them coming into place.

In light of the current economic position of the country, the company will continue to review its financial position on an on-going basis.

The following service changes to come into effect from 28th March 2010:

Timetable and Routing Changes

Cork City Route 12 (Glenthorn via the Glen to Merchants Quay)
Service operates 15 times a day in each direction. Service will be reduced to five times per day in each direction. Alternative service available on routes 3 (Farranree via Patrick Street to Ballyphehane) and 7 (Ballyvolane via St. Patrick Street to Donnybrook).

Cork City Route 5A (Merchants Quay –Blackpool - Mallow Road)
Route 5A is withdrawn with the exception of 07.25 ex. Merchants Quay and 07.40 ex. Mallow Road departures.

Cork City Route 19 (Mahon – Douglas – Ballyphehane – Togher – Bishopstown - Orbital Route)
18 departures per day each way reduced to 15 departures per day each way.

462/463/464/465/467 Local services – Carrigallen based vehicle serving Sligo, Enniskillen and Cavan on different days
Re-organisation of local network of services that will see routes altered and some reduction in frequency. Existing service is one day per week rural service based in Carrigallen operating to different locations each day.

23 Sligo-Dublin
Reduction from seven departures per day each way to six departures per day each way.

Route 7 Cork –Clonmel-Kilkenny
The 18.30 Cork/Clonmel/Kilkenny/Carlow Friday only service will operate to Kilkenny only.

Route 343 Limerick-Shannon
Service operates 26 departures per day (Monday to Saturday) in each direction. Change will see 24 departures in each direction per day. This route is also served by the Galway – Shannon – Limerick express service.

The 06.55 Patrickswell to Shannon service will also be withdrawn.

Route 308 Caherdavin-University of Limerick
Operates every 15 minutes to City. The 16.10 service from UL to Caherdavin during college terms will be withdrawn. Alternative services available on 308 and on 302 service from City Centre to Caherdavin.

Route 274 Tralee-Ballybunion
7.25 Monday to Friday service from Ballybunion to Ballyheigue, and 16.45 from Ballyheigue to Ballybunion elements of the service are withdrawn. Alternative services are available via Listowel.

Route 284 Tralee-Killarney
08.00 Killarney to Tralee service on Saturday only is withdrawn. Alternative later services on a Saturday are available on Route 284 and inter-city Route 40.

Route 115 / 118 Mullingar-Ballivor-Dublin
Currently operates four services a day in each direction. Change will see a reduction of two services a day in each direction.

Route 132 Tullow-Dublin
Service operates three times a day in each direction. Change involves a reduction to one service a day in each direction.

Route 163 Drogheda-Donore-Newgrange
Service operates six times a day in each direction. Change involves a reduction to two services a day in each direction.

Low frequency services withdrawn from 28th March 2010

Route 70 Galway-Athlone
Withdrawal of Galway-Athlone leg of this service which operates once a day in each direction. A number of alternative services are available along the main road such as high-frequency Route 20 Dublin-Athlone-Galway.

Wednesday, 10th March, 2010