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-   -   Coach competition (http://www.railusers.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=14479)

Traincustomer 29-08-2012 14:01

Coach competition
 
Details of a Bus Éireann and Gobus jointly operated service commencing in September:

http://buseireann.ie/news.php?id=1162&month=Aug

Mark Gleeson 29-08-2012 14:48

Total sum of coach capacity is still a small fraction of capacity Irish Rail have available

IE's market share is of the order of 40% Dublin Cork vs all other modes

Traincustomer 29-08-2012 14:57

Good that IÉ have circa 40% of the market share. With all of these new express coach routes I was beginning to get quite concerned for the future of railways generally. The figure puts things into perspective.
Out of interest do you have the approximate market share figures for rail on other corridors e.g. Dublin - Belfast/Sligo/Rosslare?

Thomas J Stamp 30-08-2012 14:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson (Post 69072)
Total sum of coach capacity is still a small fraction of capacity Irish Rail have available

IE's market share is of the order of 40% Dublin Cork vs all other modes

that is bunker talk. All that it takes is for this to take off, then others will join in, then others from portlaoise and other intermediate stops and before you know it, that 40% is in the other direction. Not to mention the fact that IE plan to raise prices and cut services, and, again, not to mention that in 10,15,20 years time the same rolling stock will be trundling up and down the permanent way whilst new product will be rolling out all the time to the bus operators.

comcor 30-08-2012 17:23

Even if IE have unfortunately convinced themselves that getting the time down on Cork-Dublin is not a priority, it's the only way they will keep market share. They will never be able to compete with coach operators on price, but if they have a Cork time under 2 hours (which by implication means Limerick under 1:45 and Killarney around 2:30), it would take a massively price driven consumer to use the bus instead. At current times, they'll lose all the Dublin Airport market and a reasonable amount of citybound traffic.

markpb 31-08-2012 08:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson (Post 69072)
Total sum of coach capacity is still a small fraction of capacity Irish Rail have available

Is that really relevant?

Mark Gleeson 31-08-2012 09:35

The possible market share of the coach competition is small as they don't have the capacity to actually take on Irish Rail's position

Looking at journey time reductions of 10-20 minutes on Dublin Cork in Dec/Jan

Ignore the rubbish coming out of the Independent as it doesn't stack up, if everyone has defected to the bus, why are Bus Eireann's numbers also down? Baring in mind for most routes Bus Eireann has no private competition

The fall in passenger numbers actually happened 3 years ago, before bus competition really arrived. Some routes the numbers are actually up.

dowlingm 31-08-2012 13:30

I wish I could be as sanguine as you Mark. The forthcoming timetable revisions are likely to resemble a ship which cuts off its masts and rudder "because a light ship goes fast". While Gobe will cannibalise Aircoach and the X8 to some extent, their book-a-seat-get-a-seat model is closer to IE's.

I think IE need to look at making its own alliances with the private sector to expand the reach of its network and fill in timetable gaps. The option to select Dublin Airport as a destination on the website by integrating rail ticket and the 747 service at a discounted price should be a nobrainer. A pre-0845 arrival Dublin-Cork should at least be tried.

Sitting on their hands, or appearing to, is not going to get them anywhere.

Traincustomer 31-08-2012 13:39

As mentioned in comcor's post I think that it's very important that a faster Dublin-Cork service is not viewed in isolation but as something that will deliver attendant time savings to other routes also.

For instance it would mean a journey time from Heuston to Tipperary town of 1 hour 44mins to 1 hour 54 mins.

Whether it will also deliver time savings for passengers travelling to Cóbh, Midleton and Cork suburban locations probably will depend on how the new mainline timetable interfaces with the existing suburban schedule and whether adjustments are made to the suburban pattern.

dowlingm 31-08-2012 16:29

We'll have to see if there even are services to Tipp town after this timetable! Accelerating Limerick and Kerry times should be seen from the UIC60 around Portlaoise, Lisduff and so on. Kerry in particular will be one of the last places to attract the privates so IE should keep them happy, maybe ditching the 2600 in favour of all 22K for Cork-Tralee in any services where that remains the case. If the N22 Macroom bypass goes ahead in full or in part (having finally gotten through ABP) yet another Sister Company Express might not be far behind.

Traincustomer 31-08-2012 18:17

Not sure if your point regarding Tipperary is in jest or serious - given the fact that most of the line is upgraded to continuous welded rail and that even now it offers a journey time broadly similar to the road journey (and notably faster for most sections than the Bus Éireann route 55 Expressway) it would be ridiculous if services on the Waterford-Clonmel-Limerick Jct. line cannot be accelerated.

Personally feel that the timetable on the line needs to be reconfigured to facilitate commuter traffic into Waterford as well as its current main purpose in feeding into the Dublin-Cork service at Limerick Junction. Plus run the trains to/from Limerick city. Some would say add a Clonmel to Dublin through train.

If the powers that be are really thinking of ceasing the entire service on lines then it needs to be done fairly and transparently meaning that Ballybrophy-Nenagh-Limerick and Ennis-Athenry should be looked at before Limerick Jct. - Waterford.

dowlingm 31-08-2012 18:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Traincustomer (Post 69104)
Not sure if your point regarding Tipperary is in jest or serious - given the fact that most of the line is upgraded to continuous welded rail

Nenagh got CWR too, and even South Wexford got a bit (and I believe some was lifted from where it was left near Campile?) Don't forget the signalling works done too, and the loop works. Lots of shekels spent to make the line look expensive.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Traincustomer (Post 69104)
and that even now it offers a journey time broadly similar to the road journey (and notably faster for most sections than the Bus Éireann route 55 Expressway) it would be ridiculous if services on the Waterford-Clonmel-Limerick Jct. line cannot be accelerated.

Pointless as long as the schedule is slaved to Dublin-Cork trains and split in two, as you note below - what impetus is there for change to through services and other improvements? For me a game changer could be finding a way to get the line open on Sundays - even half the day. Too late for the GAA special season but at least there could be evening trains to grab some of the UL/LIT/WIT market.

Traincustomer 31-08-2012 20:12

A Sunday service would be good.

Personally I wouldn't have an issue with any line closing if firstly all reasonable efforts to make it work came to nothing. Given the levels of negativity which sometimes surround rail matters it seems like decisions have already been made behind closed doors. If all the negativity could be chanelled in some way it might actually achieve something that benefits the country.

Inniskeen 01-09-2012 11:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson (Post 69098)
The possible market share of the coach competition is small as they don't have the capacity to actually take on Irish Rail's position

Looking at journey time reductions of 10-20 minutes on Dublin Cork in Dec/Jan

Ignore the rubbish coming out of the Independent as it doesn't stack up, if everyone has defected to the bus, why are Bus Eireann's numbers also down? Baring in mind for most routes Bus Eireann has no private competition

The fall in passenger numbers actually happened 3 years ago, before bus competition really arrived. Some routes the numbers are actually up.

It will be interesting to see if IR thin out the Dublin/Cork servive - some trains are pretty lightly loaded but the hourly frequency is particularly attractive for business customers who might not consider the train at all if faced with the prospect of a two hour wait should meetings over-run or whatever.

Students are probably the most likely to defect to buses as they travel reasonably regularly and have limited budgets. The tendency to migrate to bus is obviously greater if modal journey times are little different, departure points are more convenient and comfort levels are reasonably comparable.

The major competitor for the railway is not the bus, it is the private car - the motorist needs an excuse to leave his car behind - i.e. less stress, greater comfort, availability of catering, faster journey times, avoidance of rising fuel costs, avoiding city centre parking charges.

briank 02-11-2012 11:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson (Post 69072)
Total sum of coach capacity is still a small fraction of capacity Irish Rail have available

That is very misleading, Irish Rails capacity is 7,395 per day [1]

Gobus and Aircoach regular scheduled capacity is 1,600 per day [2]

That is 20%, hardly a fraction. However that is only half the story.

Firstly nothing stopping Gobus/Aircoach putting on extra coaches when demand calls for it, just like Aircoach did last Monday evening ex-Cork when they were swapped with the bank holiday crowds. The were running full coaches and were bringing in hire-ins from Mallow coaches, etc.

Also nothing stopping GoBus/Aircoach increasing their schedule, number of coaches (e.g. two per hour, etc.) and put on double deckers, as word of mouth spreads and their numbers increase, just like GoBus/Citylink do on their very successful Galway route.

Second, as you know well, Irish Rail rarely comes close to filling their trains. The coach companies don't need the same capacity as Irish Rail. Even with only a fifth of the capacity of rail, if they fill the coaches with rail passengers, it could easily equate to a 50% drop in rail passenger numbers on the route.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson (Post 69072)
IE's market share is of the order of 40% Dublin Cork vs all other modes

That figure as you know is from before GoBus/Aircoach started their new services, when the only coach competition was Bus Eireann and it took 4 hours 30 minutes!!

A better comparison is the Galway route where GoBus/Citylink have been operating direct non stop services for a number of years. There the market split is 25/25 coach/train, versus the 10/40 last year on the Cork route.

If Irish Rail was to lose 15% of the Cork market it would be devastating for them. Given that Cork is their busiest intercity route, a 15% reduction would equate to about a 25% drop in total intercity numbers.

If I was Irish Rail, I would be very worried about these new competing services. They are likely to have a significant impact on passenger numbers and what you can charge for tickets.

Quote:

The major competitor for the railway is not the bus, it is the private car - the motorist needs an excuse to leave his car behind - i.e. less stress, greater comfort, availability of catering, faster journey times, avoidance of rising fuel costs, avoiding city centre parking charges.
Interesting point, I think these new coach services are going to do more to attract people out of their cars then rail.

Think about it, it costs about €60 return by car in fuel and tolls. A €80 train ticket certainly isn't going to attract you out of your car. Even a €47 advance ticket is a marginal saving.

However a €18 (yes return!!) coach ticket might just well do the job.

[1] Actually the capacity is a little less, this number is based on all Mark 4's, but as we know, a few 22k are used too.

[2] The coach capacity range between 48 and 53, with most around 53, but I split the difference and said 50. This figure doesn't include the existing Bus Eireann service.

BTW the number are only in one direction, double it for return.

Colm Moore 06-11-2012 23:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by briank (Post 69642)
Firstly nothing stopping Gobus/Aircoach putting on extra coaches when demand calls for it

Except perhaps their licence, which restricts the ability to add services willy-nilly.

Mark Gleeson 07-11-2012 09:50

Standard Dublin Cork train
5 * 69
1 * 28
1 * 44
= 417 + 6 Wheelchair spaces
*28

Friday capacity is 11676 Makes that less than 9% Approx 2.5 million journeys per annum.

Plus bus licence is for ONE bus per service, anything extra is a breach of licence with the NTA

comcor 07-11-2012 10:39

I often see the 9:30am arrival at Parnell Place Bus Station when on my way to work. I never see more than a couple of people on it.

I also saw the 2:30am departure go out just over a week ago and there was nobody on board.

TBH I would imagine all the business is Cork-Dublin Airport as it easily beats the crappy 747 after you get off at Heuston. However, as Cork Airport has over 40 direct destinations, the demand isn't going to be the same as from places like Galway and Waterford.

Inniskeen 07-11-2012 13:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson (Post 69685)
Standard Dublin Cork train
5 * 69
1 * 28
1 * 44
= 417 + 6 Wheelchair spaces
*28

Friday capacity is 11676 Makes that less than 9% Approx 2.5 million journeys per annum.

Plus bus licence is for ONE bus per service, anything extra is a breach of licence with the NTA

Just a few points on the numbers.

1) About half the MK4 sets are now running in a reduced formation with only four standards.

2) If the Cork service is carrying 2.5 million per annum (Irish Rail up to recently were quoting around 3.5 million) then the approximate average number of trips generated per train (188 services per week) needs to be something around 255.

3) Given that Tralee and Limerick trips appear to be separately counted and there is nothing remotely approaching an avergae of 255 passengers arriving or departing from Cork, the intermediate business must be very healthy. I would imagine that the majority of intermediate trips are generated on Portlaoise locals as well as Galway, Westport, Limerick and Tralee services.

Mark Gleeson 07-11-2012 14:29

There is very healthy passenger numbers at intermediate stops, Thurles in particular

Load factors are variable but we still get reports of standing room only


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