Plans to introduce competitive tendering for some routes operated by state owned Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann have been put under a public consultation by Ireland’s National Transport Authority today (NTA). The plans involve entering into another direct award contract with the two operators in 2014. Coupled with this is the Authority’s proposal to extract 10% of services from these contracts and to award those by competitive tendering with operations starting in 2016. The Authority considers that the general economic interest would be best served in the next five years by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann retaining a substantial proportion of services, but not all of them. The Authority believes contracting out 10% of the services to other operators would encourage good competition and ‘provide a satisfactory sized operation against which to benchmark the existing operators’.
Chief Executive Officer of the NTA, Gerry Murphy, said, ‘These proposals are carefully balanced to introduce competition into the bus market in a structured manner that safeguards the delivery of services for the customer and maintains the on-going improvement of the public’s bus services. Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann will be able to plan for tendering and a possible downsizing if they are unsuccessful. Private bus operators will be able to compete for 10% of the market while the public will always have an integrated product offering although it may be delivered by a variety of operators. Experience from a range of countries has shown that competition has improved efficiency and services.’
Submissions and feedback can be made through the NTA’s website (www.nationaltransport.ie), as well as by post. The closing date for all entries is 17.00 on 11 October 2013. Hard copies of documentation can be inspected at the Authority’s offices: Dun Sceine, Harcourt Lane, Dublin 2 between 9.00am and 5.00pm (including lunchtimes) until 17.00 on 14 October 2013.