Economic and Social Impact

Image shows the cover of the report which includes a yellow and green double deck bus, a woman using a leap card, children running into school, a red Expressway bus driving along the coast and an apprentice mechanic looking at an engine

€267m total value add to national economy, two-thirds outside of Dublin

Further €500m-€1bn economic benefits to users

  • Independent economic and social impact report shows Bus Éireann supports 8,800 direct and indirect jobs across Ireland
  • 88% of population lives within 5km of a Bus Éireann service, 89 million passenger journeys in a typical year

A new report by the professional services firm, KPMG, on Bus Éireann’s economic and social impact on – and contribution to society – has shown the positive impact the company and its services have on individuals and communities throughout Ireland. The report, published today, demonstrates the influence of Bus Éireann for the greater good of the economy, the environment, and Irish society as a whole.

Bus Éireann is Ireland’s national bus company, facilitating 89 million passenger journeys in 2019, across regional city, town, commuter, county, intercity and schools services. In 2019, Bus Éireann’s 1,150 vehicles and 2,700 employees clocked up more than 82 million kilometres, more than any other public transport operator in the country, with a further 120 million subcontracted kilometres.

The report uses 2019 as the baseline and shows that Bus Éireann supports over 8,800 direct and indirect jobs in Ireland,  generates ~€580 million in industrial output, and creates economic value add of ~€270 million for the Irish economy. The value contribution is spread across the regions, with Dublin the greatest at €96 million, the South-West at €47 million, and similar levels of €25 million in the South-East, West and Mid-West of the country.

Speaking about the report the CEO of Bus Éireann, Stephen Kent, commented: “We are proud of the contribution Bus Éireann and its employees make to the country, and to local communities.  Ultimately, the value of Bus Éireann as Ireland’s national bus company is our detailed understanding of transport needs, challenges and opportunities from Ireland’s regional cities to towns to rural areas, and at every life-stage, from primary school students to those who have retired. Our scale and scope gives us a special understanding of what moves Ireland, how to do it better, and more sustainably.

“Nearly 70% of customers surveyed for this report said that social impact is important to Bus Éireann. This mandate is important to us too, and that is why we maintained our services, with State support, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. That has had a major impact on the company, but are confident in achieving pre-pandemic passenger numbers over time, driven particularly by the return to workplaces and social / leisure travel.”

The report’s project lead, Professor William Hynes of KPMG Future Analytics, commented “This report details the extent of the contribution that Bus Éireann makes both to communities across the country and to the national economy through employment and facilitating the movement of people. Transport is ultimately an economic enabler, and Bus Éireann’s measurable and intangible impacts are compelling: ~€270 million for the economy, 8,800 direct and indirect jobs, and a social footprint in cities, towns, and villages across the country".

The report shows that Bus Éireann is the backbone of public transport across Ireland, providing an accessible service to communities up and down the country. Nationally, 88% of the population lives within 5km of a Bus Éireann PSO (Public Service Obligation) route stop. This ensures that communities across Ireland have access to reliable services that provide access to education, healthcare, and social opportunities.

Over 83% of Bus Éireann customers agreed that Bus Éireann provides an essential service for them or their family, highlighting the significant presence of services in rural Ireland. Vital services such as hospitals, schools, and higher education facilities are serviced by Bus Éireann providing access for many people who would otherwise struggle to travel easily to access these services.  For example, there are 1,130 Bus Éireann bus stops within 2km of hospitals, and about 120,000 schoolchildren travel on a Bus Éireann service every day to and from school.

The report further shows Bus Éireann’s contribution to Ireland’s climate action goals and sustainable transport. Up to 12.6 million car journeys are avoided every year by passengers choosing Bus Éireann services, and an additional 21.5 million car journeys are avoided due to the School Transport Scheme. Through this, Bus Éireann is also playing a significant role in Ireland’s fight against climate change by significantly reducing road congestion. Bus Éireann’s sustainability strategy targets a 50% reduction in the company’s greenhouse gas emissions and a 30% increase in passenger numbers by 2030.

A key feature of Bus Éireann services is inclusivity. The report identifies that the company acts as a key mechanism to providing access to opportunity – it helps to provide the jobless with access to work; young people to education and training; and provides mobility and a way out of social isolation especially for older people and people with disabilities.

Bus Éireann also offers opportunity to vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups, in turn making a powerful contribution to greater social inclusion, social mobility and reduced government expenditure on health, social care and welfare payments.