Private bus firms want to be able to tender for all routes

Private bus and coach operators, who provide two-thirds of our scheduled commercial bus services, are calling for all public transport routes to be put out for tender.

The Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) said its members want to play a central role in commercial and non-commercial transport and this includes subsidised Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes in urban and rural settings.

CTTC national director Kevin Traynor pointed out that the European Commission has ordered full liberalisation of the Irish bus market by 2019, but the Government has left just 10% of PSO routes to open competitive tender: “There should be equal and open tendering to both the public and private sectors on all PSO services. This should be without the barrier on private operators of requiring a huge turnover, which restricts the majority of indigenous operators.

“There is a need to review the current PSO subvention routes to ensure value for money for both the consumer and taxpayer. Shifts in population density, greater use of affordable park-and-ride facilities and feeder services should be considered.”

The CTTC is seeking the review with input from private operators, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and relevant statutory bodies.

“This review must include how to deliver non-commercial routes which service the public good and ensure connectivity in rural communities, and how both commercial and non-commercially viable services can work together to provide a national network,” said Mr Traynor.

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