As people prepare for the first Christmas with some level of normality since COVID, ‘the least they can expect is a is a dependable bus service’.
That is according to the Chair of the Oireachtas Transport Committee which will today hear from Dublin Bus Go Ahead and the NTA.
Dublin Bus is expected to use the hearing to apologise to customers who have experienced delays as well as cancelled and ‘ghost’ services in recent months.
On Breakfast Briefing this morning, committee chair Kieran O'Donnell the answers all three came up with at their last appearance were “very unsatisfactory”.
He said TDs and Senators now want to hear what the companies have done about driver shortages and problems with real-time passenger information services.
“Those apps and what people see when they go to the bus stops – they are not working,” he said.
“You were getting ghost buses and delays so we want to see improvements in both of those areas.”
“We want to see that both Dublin Bus and GoAhead have recruited the large number of bus drivers which they stated that they would and we expect that the NTA will give us an update on real time passenger information services.”
Deputy O’Donnell said people are entitled to a dependable bus service.
“Ultimately this is about … this is the first Christmas since COVID arrived that people will have some level of normality,” he said.
“People will be using the bus service to visit family and friends or go shopping, just generally what people do at Christmas, and they will be in and out of the city.
“I think the least they are entitled to is a dependable bus service. We want to see really firm action.”
The last time the two companies were before the Oireachtas it emerged they had both been fined large amounts for failing to meet route and timetable targets.
Dublin Bus said it had been fined €1.5m so far this year while GoAhead had been fined €885,000.
“We want to see whether the NTA has issued any further fines,” said Deputy O’Donnell.
“The NTA is charged with ensuring this is an effective service and I don’t think this is just about providing information; it is about providing a reliable and effective service.
“These are all PSO routes. These are paid for and subsidised by the taxpayer. The very people that are using the route are the people that are paying for it as well.
“They are entitled to a dependable service.”
At the last meeting, Go Ahead said it would be short 45 drivers until February while Dublin Bus said it needed an extra 150 drivers.