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Unread 28-03-2017, 07:46   #21
James Howard
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The Irish Times is suggesting that any balloted strike would not start until late next month. I can't see Bus Éireann surviving until late next week at this rate. Although, if Bus Éireann collapses which is getting very likely, all bets are off.

I reckon the most likely outcome of all this is Bus Éireann getting a wedge of government money to wind up Expressway which can probably be pushed past state aid regulations. There is no way anyone in their right mind would buy Expressway - it's not worth anything. Their only assets are licences for slow bus routes and staff who are very generously paid compared to any competitors. This does seem like a valuable asset.

Jamie2k9 is right - nobody is going to pay any attention until there is a threat of serious disruption to Dublin city transport. Nobody powerful really cares about transport services mainly used by students and elderly people in the regional cities.
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Unread 28-03-2017, 07:47   #22
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Yeah so having realised that a): the vast majority don't care and b): their actions are about to drive BE into extinction, they try to strangle the country. Bad news folks, when that was done in the 70s and even 80s, it ground the country to a halt but we all have cars now so it just p*sses everyone off. Then when BE folds, the public response will likely be, "F 'em!"

Sympathy strikes should be illegal (and may actually be if the noises coming from the NBRU (of all people) are anything to go by).

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Unread 28-03-2017, 12:02   #23
Mickey H
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https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0328/863077-bus-eireann/ (extracts)


Workers at both those companies are to be balloted next week on taking industrial action in sympathy with and in support of Bus Éireann workers.


Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, SIPTU organiser Willie Noone said it was reasonable to expect that if wages in Bus Éireann are driven down, then workers in Dublin Bus can expect similar cuts.

He said the ballot of workers will take a number of weeks to carry out.
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Unread 28-03-2017, 14:46   #24
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He said the ballot of workers will take a number of weeks to carry out.
By which time BE will be in examinership.
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Unread 28-03-2017, 15:32   #25
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Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, SIPTU organiser Willie Noone said it was reasonable to expect that if wages in Bus Éireann are driven down, then workers in Dublin Bus can expect similar cuts.
Does he have any real basis for this? Not so long ago DB workers got significant pay rises, unlike (as far as I am aware) BE workers.

Sounds like bravado or "alternative facts", lapped up of course by our ever somnolent journalists.
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Unread 28-03-2017, 16:09   #26
James Howard
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For the immediate future, it doesn't seem likely that Dublin Bus will experience the same competitive forces that Bus Éireann are facing. So for the moment, I'd say he has no basis. Who's to say that won't change in the longer term.

The real issue for Bus Éireann is that they can't continue to subsidise loss-making "commercial" routes with PSO funds so they basically have to cut costs or withdraw those services. They obviously can't increase fares since their dwindling traffic is going to go elsewhere. No amount of striking will change this basic equation and state aid rules prevent subsidising Expressway from PSO money.

I've been wondering for a while about how Bus Éireann can operate a lot of their routes at all. I rarely drive into Longford town without seeing a Bus Éireann bus going to or from Ballina or Sligo - both "commercial" (or so the NTA has told me). I really find it hard to see how they aren't losing a fortune on these routes. It's also hard to see how they could be justified as PSO services since both routes are very well served by the train during the day.
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Unread 28-03-2017, 16:48   #27
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James Howard: you have got it 100% right. I would go further and say that the real aim of union leaders may be political, i.e. to force a change in the financing framework, and to hell with the EU. Shades of Irish Water, anyone?

For me it looks like a move towards a political strike, aimed at a virtually powerless minority government.
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Unread 29-03-2017, 14:33   #28
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i can see any strike in IE/BAC being injuncted as there are actually no industrial relations issues existing at the moment. its not good enough to say there may be something in the future because of what is going on in BE.

Although off topic as a whole, the basis for the BE strike/problems are absolutely political. Although the unions are saying that this is all about the refusal of the government to pay for public transport the reality is that it is only on certain parts of the expressway network that BE wants to hack at, not the PSO elements, and put the money into the PSO.

In rail terms it would be like IE getting out of DART and putting the savings into Waterford/Limerick. Most of the expressway routes are getting heavy competition from other operators, although the types of coverage from them is selective. Only BE and Kavanaghs serve Roscrea, Nenagh, Mouthrath on the Limerick Route for example. Not all private operators services do Portlaoise either. Im not sure about the Cork route but I imagine that not all of them stop in Cashel etc.

You have to wonder why BE use full sized coaches for many of their routes as well. The old service form Cork to Athlone was ended some years ago, it was a full sized coach and was always mostly empty. Locally we now have a kavanaghs mini coach which serves Thurles/Templemore/Roscrea. That was a profitable part of the route because it was part of the timetable which hit the rush hours, the rest didnt. Maybe this is the way. The BE north south service I see in Nenagh is never anything near full either and is another massive coach.
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Unread 29-03-2017, 15:07   #29
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i can see any strike in IE/BAC being injuncted as there are actually no industrial relations issues existing at the moment. its not good enough to say there may be something in the future because of what is going on in BE.
Whatever IE do, it may well set a bad tone for pay discussions when the Labor Court make a ruling (must be due soon enough).
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Unread 29-03-2017, 15:25   #30
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i can see any strike in IE/BAC being injuncted as there are actually no industrial relations issues existing at the moment. its not good enough to say there may be something in the future because of what is going on in BE.

Although off topic as a whole, the basis for the BE strike/problems are absolutely political. Although the unions are saying that this is all about the refusal of the government to pay for public transport the reality is that it is only on certain parts of the expressway network that BE wants to hack at, not the PSO elements, and put the money into the PSO.

In rail terms it would be like IE getting out of DART and putting the savings into Waterford/Limerick. Most of the expressway routes are getting heavy competition from other operators, although the types of coverage from them is selective. Only BE and Kavanaghs serve Roscrea, Nenagh, Mouthrath on the Limerick Route for example. Not all private operators services do Portlaoise either. Im not sure about the Cork route but I imagine that not all of them stop in Cashel etc.

You have to wonder why BE use full sized coaches for many of their routes as well. The old service form Cork to Athlone was ended some years ago, it was a full sized coach and was always mostly empty. Locally we now have a kavanaghs mini coach which serves Thurles/Templemore/Roscrea. That was a profitable part of the route because it was part of the timetable which hit the rush hours, the rest didnt. Maybe this is the way. The BE north south service I see in Nenagh is never anything near full either and is another massive coach.
Yes I always wondered why they use the full size (very expensive) coaches on routes that don't require them. Silly really
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Unread 29-03-2017, 15:44   #31
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You have to wonder why BE use full sized coaches for many of their routes as well. The old service form Cork to Athlone was ended some years ago, it was a full sized coach and was always mostly empty. Locally we now have a kavanaghs mini coach which serves Thurles/Templemore/Roscrea. That was a profitable part of the route because it was part of the timetable which hit the rush hours, the rest didnt. Maybe this is the way. The BE north south service I see in Nenagh is never anything near full either and is another massive coach.
The only saving on going to a smaller coach is in fuel, which accounts for about a third of the cost of running the service. And then they'll only save a quarter of that third. Against that they save by not having to maintain multiple types in their fleet and not having to train drivers on multiple types.

All that said, the only coaches (as opposed to city buses) I ever see full in Cork are on the PSO routes to Kinsale, Macroom and Fermoy/Clonmel. Otherwise, the Friday evening departures to Galway/Limerick may fill the coach. It all suggests that maybe their coaches are too large in general. I'd also question why they retire coaches when they do only to see them reappear on a private competitor's services.
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Unread 29-03-2017, 23:10   #32
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Had a day trip to Derry back in February, utilising the €8.99 BE on-line offer. Ironically, shortly after, it was announced that the Dubin - Derry route was closing from May. Ulster Bus also operate the route, and for some reason, their buses seemed fuller. Note sure if they have better times, but I imagine they'll plug any gaps left by BE.

There were about 15 people on board and everyone else paid the full cash fare to the driver. So other than us, no one on that bus on that day had been attracted by BEs marketing. Not one of the other passengers that were travelling either knew of the offer, or was sufficiently motivated by it, or perhaps could not avail of it because they were not travelling the full route.

We had a 20 minute drivers rest stop in Monaghan bus station. It felt like going back in time 20-30 years arriving there. Yet the NI bus stations we went through later were modern and up-to-date.

The current drivers are caught up in an unfortunate situation. They have a relatively well paid job and pension that probably bears little resemblance to the net income derived from the service they provide and probably don't have to live in Dublin. They probably don't have the hassle of many passengers to carry and drive nice new buses.

As a country, we shouldn't be spending a fortune subsidising a service network for a handful of passengers - there are cheaper ways of ferrying them about. Perhaps some private sector innovation is what is required here - mimic Ryanair, using the internet to market and sell tickets to fill the buses up at prices people are prepared to pay. If after a trial period, a route can't pay its way then axe it. Another provider might be able to operate the same route profitably simply because it's paying market rates for its drivers.

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Unread 30-03-2017, 11:39   #33
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Well, thats the whole question, isnt it. Do we as a society want to have a public transport system or not and assuming we do, how much do we pay for it?

the problems within BE seem to be centred on the expressway service. you would imagine that these routes would be making the most money, but they seem to be loss making which is odd. However people I know in the private sector say that the reason is because BE swamp certain routes to try and destroy the privateers who get a licence for those routes as well.

As I know the limerick route well, this seems correct. BE turned the Dublin/Limerick route hourly a few years ago. They developed (for a while) a 24 hour service when JJ Kavanagh's did. They've made Portlaoise the first stop and got rid of the rest stop in Borris in Ossory because the privateers did likewise.

Was this to destroy the opposition or to be able to compete with them?

Now we have BE, Kavanaghs's, DublinCoach, CityLink & EireEagle on the same strip of road more or less all serving the same stops.

It makes sense for the NTA to tell some of the private operators to share more stops and allow BE to withdraw services on the route. Alternatively you can order them all to share stops so that each town gets enough departures during the day.

The buses and drivers of BE get moved into other PSO routes (and yes, maybe with a common fleet of smaller vehicles).

Expressway as a brand was only established in the 70's and it never operated an hourly service on any route till the 90's with the Belfast Dublin one, and then this was expanded to Galway, Limerick and Cork just as private operators came along in those corridors.....
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Unread 30-03-2017, 12:56   #34
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The only saving on going to a smaller coach is in fuel, which accounts for about a third of the cost of running the service. And then they'll only save a quarter of that third. Against that they save by not having to maintain multiple types in their fleet and not having to train drivers on multiple types.

All that said, the only coaches (as opposed to city buses) I ever see full in Cork are on the PSO routes to Kinsale, Macroom and Fermoy/Clonmel. Otherwise, the Friday evening departures to Galway/Limerick may fill the coach. It all suggests that maybe their coaches are too large in general. I'd also question why they retire coaches when they do only to see them reappear on a private competitor's services.
Yes but that saving multiplied by a certain amount of journeys and surely they have enough information as to which routes and days they need a large coach.

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Unread 31-03-2017, 10:38   #35
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Yes but that saving multiplied by a certain amount of journeys and surely they have enough information as to which routes and days they need a large coach.
not to mention that the actual reductions they want in Expressway (for example) are quite small when you look at it per departure/bus/worker but looked at over a year are quite substantial.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 17:03   #36
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The only saving on going to a smaller coach is in fuel, which accounts for about a third of the cost of running the service. And then they'll only save a quarter of that third.
That's a saving of 8% - that can be the difference between making a profit and not. There there are the capital costs of large -v- medium small vehicles.
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However people I know in the private sector say that the reason is because BE swamp certain routes to try and destroy the privateers who get a licence for those routes as well.
This has been knocked on the head. Operators are only allowed operate to their licenced timetable. Extra services can't exceed a certain percentage.

Quote:
It makes sense for the NTA to tell some of the private operators to share more stops and allow BE to withdraw services on the route. Alternatively you can order them all to share stops so that each town gets enough departures during the day.
Running long distance services through every town and village is inappropriate. All services should stop at a few main stops and then one or two operators should operate a consistent local service to the lesser stops.
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Unread 02-04-2017, 21:24   #37
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Looks like WRC may invite both sides for talks this week with one condition been no repeat of Fridays wildcat strikes.

If it happens I really hope IE/DB don't back down on recovering losses from Friday, could be talking up to a million between them if you consider the lost revenue and NTA funding.
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Unread 03-04-2017, 12:20   #38
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NBRU look like they are in some trouble now
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news...-35587709.html

http://www.thejournal.ie/bus-eireann...20861-Apr2017/

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Unread 13-04-2017, 14:06   #39
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BE returning to work for a few weeks at least, DB voted (SIPTU) 67% to take action with IE's result due next week.
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