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Bus Éireann charges almost double what NI company does for the exact same Dublin-Belfast service

Translink and Bus Éireann both share operations of the Dublin to Belfast X1 and X2A bus service.

BUS EIREANN Source: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

TICKETS SOLD ON Bus Éireann’s website for its Dublin-Belfast service cost significantly more than tickets for the exact same service sold on the Northern Irish Translink’s website.

Northern Irish public transport company Translink and the Republic’s Bus Éireann both share operations of the Dublin to Belfast X1 and X2A services from Dublin’s Busáras to Belfast’s Europa Bus Centre.

The service stops at Dublin’s Busáras, Dublin Airport, Newry, Banbridge, Sprucefield and Belfast, and vice-versa.

Tickets are available to purchase online from both Bus Éireann and Translink’s website, at stations and on the coaches.

However, it has come to the attention of TheJournal.ie that there is a difference of prices for online tickets for the same Belfast to Dublin services (and Dublin to Belfast) when a customer tries to make the purchase from the Bus Éireann and Translink websites.

Tickets for the full Belfast-Dublin and Dublin-Belfast journeys on the Translink website are significantly cheaper than that of the Bus Éireann website. 

So, to put into context, some passengers sitting on the same bus could have paid around €20 and some could have paid up to €37, depending on where they purchased the ticket. 

For the purpose of this article, TheJournal.ie used the 11.45am Belfast to Dublin service last Monday as an example of cost differences.

An adult return ticket on sale on the Bus Éireann website for the 11.45am Belfast-Dublin service costs €37, whereas it costs £18 on the Translink website.

When converted to euro, £18 works out at around €20, a difference of €17.

BusÉireann_Adult An example of online adult ticket fares for the Belfast-Dublin service on Bus Éireann's website Source: Screengrab via www.buseireann.ie

Translink_Adult An example of online adult ticket fares for the Belfast-Dublin service on Translink's website Source: Screengrab via www.translink.co.uk

A student return ticket on sale on the Bus Éireann website for the 11.45am Belfast-Dublin service costs €31, whereas it costs £18 on the Translink website.

A child return ticket on sale on the Bus Éireann website for the 11.45am Belfast-Dublin service costs €22.20, whereas it costs £10.80 on the Translink website.

When converted to euro, £10.80 works out at around €12.25, a difference of almost €10.

BusÉireann_Child An example of online child ticket fares for the Belfast-Dublin service on Bus Éireann's website Source: Screengrab via www.buseireann.ie

Translink_Child An example of online child ticket fares for the Belfast-Dublin service on Translink's website Source: Screengrab via www.translink.co.uk

A leaflet with information about the X1 and X2A services, which was available to pick up at Busáras, claims that a Dublin to Belfast single ticket online costs €10, despite that not being the case. A single online adult ticket costs €18.50, a single online student ticket costs €15.50 and a single online child ticket costs €11.10. 

Bus Éireann has a separate website for its Expressway services. On this website, it outlines that a return ticket to Belfast is €20. However, when a customer clicks the “book” button and fills out the ticket details, they are redirected back to the regular Bus Éireann website, where tickets are on sale at the above prices. 

IMG_6286 The leaflet for the X1 and X2A service available in Busáras Source: Hayley Halpin/TheJournal.ie

expresswaywebsite A screengrab of the Expressway website Source: Screengrab via www.expressway.ie

TheJournal.ie took a trip to Busáras to check out how much return tickets for the service cost when purchased at the in-station ticketing machines.

We discovered that return tickets on sale at the ticket machines in Busáras only cost €26.50 for an adult, €22.40 for a student and €15.90 for a child.

IMG_6270 The purchase screen for an adult return ticket to Belfast on the in-station ticket machine in Busáras Source: Hayley Halpin/TheJournal.ie

TheJournal.ie asked Bus Éireann why there is such a price difference between its online tickets and Translink’s. 

In a response, it said: “The Expressway X1 (Dublin – Airport – Newry – Belfast) service is a commercial service that receives no State funding. 

“We do not give out information on Expressway fares as this is commercially sensitive information. Translink fares are a matter for Translink.”

A Translink spokesperson said: “Our standard fares for this service are similar to those charged by Bus Éireann. From time to time, online promotional fares may differ for a number of reasons.” 

The online Translink prices are a promotional offer, however, it seems to be offered on a longterm ongoing basis. 

A number of other companies provide bus services to and from Belfast to Dublin, including Aircoach and Dublin Coach. Irish Rail and Translink also operate a daily train service to and from Belfast. 

Note: Since the publication of this article, ticket prices have been amended on Bus Éireann’s website. As of 12pm on 22 October, single tickets from Dublin to Belfast cost €10 online and return tickets cost €20 online. 

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