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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 16 August, 2018
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British transport company Go-Ahead signs contract to run 24 Dublin Bus routes

Go-Ahead Dublin is expected to begin operating some of these routes by the middle of October 2018.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

BRITISH TRANSPORT COMPANY Go-Ahead has signed a contract to operate 24 Dublin Bus routes.

Go-Ahead Dublin is expected to begin operating some of these routes by the middle of October 2018 and all routes by the end of January 2019. Once in full operation, Go-Ahead Dublin will be running 10% of Dublin Bus’ routes.

The company was last year selected as the preferred bidder of the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) tendering process, which it said was carried out to compare and improve Dublin’s bus services.

The UK transport company was one of six applicants shortlisted during the application process.

After four applicants withdrew their bid because a bus depot would not be provided as part of the contract, the final decision was between Go-Ahead and the semi-State company Dublin Bus.

The value of today’s contract is €172 million over five years. This includes full mobilisation costs and the provision of depot facilities.

Concerns raised

Concerns were raised after Go-Ahead was announced as the preferred bidder back in August over work conditions for the new drivers and whether the deal was, or would eventually lead to, the privatisation of Dublin Bus (or part of it).

But the NTA maintained that this is not the privatisation of Dublin Bus and merely a system like the Luas – with routes and vehicles owned by the state and operated by a private company.

The transport authority said that timetables, routes, fares and Leap Cards would be set by the State for Go-Ahead to implement, meaning no routes would be cancelled or hiked up in price (well, not without State approval).

Speaking today, Anne Graham, chief executive of the NTA said that the decision to choose Go-Ahead “is ultimately about improving bus services for Dublin”.

“We believe that with Go-Ahead Dublin as an operator, there will be a fresh dimension to the ways that services are offered. Introducing new providers encourages everybody to focus on their customers’ needs and it encourages innovation and improvements to service quality,” Graham said.

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 is one of the largest operators of bus services in the UK, running around a quarter of London’s buses, regional buses that account for around 7% of the UK market, British train services, and bus services in Singapore.

With reporting by Grainne Ní Aodha 

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