Statement from Bus Éireann on Service Changes
Bus Éireann has today (January 29th 2010) said that the implementation of changes to services with low customer support under its cost recovery plan as recommended by the Labour Court will begin on 28th February 2010. Changes to conditions of employment and other cost reduction measures under the cost recovery plan have already begun.
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.
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”.
Bus Éireann has continually reduced its cost base over the last number of years and further significant savings will be achieved through the implementation of the company’s cost recovery plan. The plan involves a reduction of approximately 250 positions across the organisation, alterations to work practices and terms of employment, and changes to services with low customer support.
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.
The first changes under the plan involved alterations to work practices and terms of employment that will reduce earnings across the company. These changes will not have any adverse impact on services over the next four weeks. The plan will also see a reduction of approximately 250 positions across the organisation. Bus Éireann has received the required number of applications for its voluntary redundancy scheme under the plan.
From 28th February 2010, Bus Éireann will begin phasing in changes to services with low customer support as recommended by the Labour Court and the independent Deloitte report, which was commissioned by the Department of Transport.
Following a detailed review, service changes are being introduced on a phased basis and will focus on services that have low customer support. The majority of changes will be to the frequency of services or the routing of services. This is the start of the first phase of changes under the cost recovery plan. The level of further changes required will depend on the savings that can be achieved in earlier phases.
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.
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 and staff. 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 the our 330 routes as possible.
Safety and customer service will, as always, remain the company’s priorities.
Customers on routes where alterations come into effect from 28th February 2010 will be informed of the change to their service from today (29th January 2010) and information on service changes will be available from local travel centres and viewable at www.buseireann.ie. 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 February 2010:
Timetable and Route Changes
Route 40 Cork-Tralee
Thirteen departures a day in each direction. Change will see one less departure - Tralee-Cork (Monday only).
All services will now operate on the main road via Ballyvourney only. Route 257 will provide a shuttle connection between Macroom/ Killarney and Millstreet/Rathmore.
Route 337 Miltown Malbay-Ennis
Currently operates two departures a day in each direction, extra departure ex Ennis Fridays only. Change will see one less departure each way.
Route 329 Kilfinane-Limerick
Currently operates five times a day on Saturdays, twice during the week in each direction along the route. Change will see one less departure from Kilfinane during week and one less departure from Limerick on Saturday.
Route 14 Limerick-Killarney
Seven departures a day each way. Change will see one less departure ex Killarney (Monday only).
Route 110 Navan Town Service
Reduction in frequency on Routes A, B and C, and change in routing on Route B with main areas still served.
Route 186/189 Drogheda-Clogherhead-Grangebellew
Amalgamation of two routes. Route will no longer serve Togher Cross due to low customer numbers and this will result in longer journeys for some customers.
Route 440/441 Dooagh-Westport
Two departures a day (Monday-Saturday) each way. Change will see one less departure a day each way.
Route 490/487/491/494 Ballybofey/Letterkenny/Strabane
Re-organisation of local network of services that will see routes altered and some reduction in frequency.
Route 362/364/366/386/387/388 – Dungarvan local services
Re-organisation of local network of services that will see routes altered and cancellation of services to secondary locations.
Route 459/459a – Athlone Town Services
Reduction in frequency on routes.
Route 52 - Galway-Ballina
Operates seven times a day. One departure each way to be withdrawn.
Low frequency services withdrawn
Route 122 Portumna-Dublin
Operates once a day in each direction.
Alternative high frequency services on main portions of the route are available along the Dublin-Athlone and Dublin-Tullamore corridors.
Route 71 Cork-Roscrea-Athlone
Operates once a day in each direction.
Alternative services on main portions of the route are available - Cork-Clonmel-Kilkenny-Dublin, Cork-Dublin via Portlaoise, Cork-Cahir-Horse & Jockey, and from Birr-Athlone.
Route 210A Cork City Service - South Mall-Mahon-Jacob’s Island
14/15 departures in each direction each day.
Alternative services available – Route 2, 10 – within 500 metres of 10A routing.
Route 231 Ballyvourney-Cork
One departure each way per day.
Alternative services available - Route 40 (Cork-Tralee high frequency service) and Route 233 Cork-Macroom
Route 102 Ardcath-Dublin
One departure each way per day.
Alternative higher frequency services available from adjacent locations - Ashbourne, Duleek or Kilmoon Cross.
Route 271 – Tralee–Cork Via Naad
Operates twice a week.
Public and rural transport services available along the route.
Route 418 – Galway – Kiltullagh
Operates once a day Mon – Sat.
Alternatives - 7.20 departure from Athenry. Rail service available from Athenry.
Route 255 Macroom-Ballingeary-Kealkil-Kilcrohane (Saturday only)
Operates twice a day each way on Saturdays only.
Friday, 29th January, 2010