BUS ÉIREANN DELIVERS GOOD NEWS FOR ITS MONAGHAN PASSENGERS

20 November 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

– Route and information improvements planned and funding being sought for depot revamp, Municipal District told

PETER HUGHES

Representatives from Bus Éireann who addressed Monday’s meeting of the Monaghan Municipal District brought with them copious promise of good news for users of their service in Monaghan town.

Regional Manager David Lane and Local Services Manager Joanne Duffy outlined plans to carry out significant improvements both internally and externally to the Monaghan Bus Station next year, with the installation of an electronic Real Time Passenger Information display to allow prospective passengers observe the progress of buses along their routes.

The Bus Éireann representatives also addressed complaints the members had raised about the reliability of the early morning service from Monaghan to Dublin Airport, and capacity issues relating to the Letterkenny and Derry express buses that collected passengers in Monaghan, promising improvements in the bus services available in the town during 2016.

On the proposal of Sean Conlon, the Municipal District agreed to request the Dept of Transport and the National Transport Authority to give their full approval to the submissions for funding being made by Bus Éireann for proposals that would enhance their services throughout Co Monaghan.

Prior to the Bus Éireann presentation, Cathaoirleach Robbie Gallagher said that this followed on from requests from Colr Sean Conlon and other members who had recently been raising a number of transport issues.

Regional Manager Mr Lane, who pointed out that he had been invited to the May MD meeting but was unable to attend due to family reasons, said he was delighted to be present to outline plans by Bus Éireann for the Monaghan area.

He explained that Bus Éireann operated three core products: their public service obligation on behalf of the National Transport Authority (NTA), which accounted for two-thirds of their services and for which they received €32 million this year to operate because some of the routes were loss-making; their commercial routes, which were mainly inter-city services and for which they received no State funding; and their school transport service, which they operated on behalf of the Dept of Education and in which approximately 400 vehicles were involved.

Bus Éireann operated two core routes in Monaghan, Letterkenny-Dublin and Derry-Dublin. They adopted economies of scale across all their operations, with drivers mixing between the services. They received better procurement tendering when they were involved in so many services.

The company had 2,400 staff, and contributed significantly to local economies. In 2014 they contributed €64 million to the Exchequer, and were the largest provider of local and regional transport services in the country.

Noting that staff numbers had reduced over recent years with the changes in the economy, Mr Lane said that their State subvention had also been reduced from nearly €50 million in 2008/9 to €34 in 2015. While they had recorded a loss of €11 million in 2009, they had made a profit of €5 million in 2014, and this year’s profit forecast was €3 million.

Through Bus Éireann’s school transport service, 113,000 children were carried to 3,000 schools on 6,000 routes daily. They had invested €9.2 million this year in their Expressway fleet, and had gone for the higher capacity type bus. They planned to spend €10.4 million next year, €9.4 million on new fleet and the remainder on a refit programme for their older fleet.

Mr Lane also told the meeting that double-decker buses, capable of carrying 78 passengers, had been used to address capacity issues on the Monaghan-Dublin route.

Joanne Duffy told the meeting that she was Service Manager for the north-east region, which incorporated Drogheda, Dundalk, Cavan and Monaghan. Two of the core routes they operated were from Letterkenny and Derry through Monaghan, where they provided 192 weekly services, and 32 weekly additional capacity services. They also operated three public service operation routes in the local area: the Dundalk-Monaghan-Clones-Cavan 162 route which had 19 weekly departures; the Monaghan-Cavan route (68 weekly departures), and the Monaghan-Ardee-Drogheda route (86 weekly departures). They also operated 172 daily school trips in Monaghan, 47 by Bus Éireann itself, and 125 by private contract. A total of 3,700 children were being carried to school daily in Co Monaghan, 70 of whom were special needs children. She pointed out that a transport safety campaign for children had commenced in October.

Ms Duffy stated that Bus Éireann usually received around €4 million per annum in school bus funding from the Dept of Education. They…

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