The Irish Transport Minister Shane Ross won’t bail out the moribund Dublin to Derry Bus Éireann service because passengers are well enough served by other Bus Éireann, Translink and commercial services, he says.
The Minister ruled out an eleventh hour bail-out after Bus Éireann announced its Dublin to Derry bus service will end in May.
He said the route 33 Expressway bus was a commercial service, licensed under the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009, and, as such, “not eligible for any taxpayer funding”.
“As I have stated on numerous occasions, in cases where a commercial operator, such as Expressway, decides to alter or withdraw a route, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has the statutory powers available to it to respond as appropriate to ensure continued transport connectivity,” he confirmed last Wednesday.
“In response to Bus Éireann’s recent announcement of service changes, the NTA has published an assessment of the proposed changes and indicated what action it believes is necessary to ensure that continued connectivity.
“As indicated in that published assessment, the NTA does not believe that connectivity issues arise on the route 33 corridor following the proposed withdrawal of Expressway’s route 33,” he added.
The NTA believes there are enough alternative services available.
It stated: “Translink operates 42 services per week on the same route and it is our understanding that they will be retaining those services.
“Bus Éireann’s Expressway route 32 operates 126 services per week via the same route except between Strabane and Derry.
“Translink Route 273 operates 201 services per week from Derry to Strabane which would connect to Bus Éireann route 32.
“There are sufficient alternative services provided by Translink and Bus Éireann and therefore it is not proposed to provide any additional services.”
The Derry route was among three routes Bus Éireann earmarked for closure last month.
The Dublin to Clonmel route closed on Sunday, while both the Limerick and Galway to Dublin services were also reduced at the weekend.
Bus Éireann’s Athlone to Westport service was due to end on April 16 but the NTA considers there’s a public service obligation to provide connectivity on that route and is poised to step in.
The last Derry to Dublin run is on May 28.