Bus Eireann Dispute Leads To Rail Chaos
March 24th 2017
The dispute at Bus Eireann
This dispute relates to Bus Eireann's commercial expressway division which does not receive any form of subsidy. These routes are subject to competition and are in many cases heavily loss making, these cannot receive any financial support.
The dispute in Bus Eireann is viewed by many within Irish Rail as the benchmark for when Irish Rail unions come to negotiate. Irish Rail is in no way party to the dispute.
As Bus Eireann and Irish Rail share many buildings and other facilities outside of Dublin, picket lines have appeared at many locations. As Irish Rail staff are members of the same unions in Bus Eireann many Irish Rail staff of operational grade (most management is non unionized) have opted not pass the picket lines.
Rights if you hold a existing ticket/reservation
As Irish Rail, its agents or contractors are not on strike, Irish Rail is obliged to satisfy the contract of travel you entered into. The EU courts have ruled that force majeure (act of god or third parties) is not a defense.
If you purchased your ticket before Irish Rail informed you of the disruption you have extensive rights under EU regulation EC1371/2007, Rail Passenger Rights and Responsibilities.
- Right to be informed of disruption, how long it will last and what options you have.
- Travel to your destination by alternative transport provided by Irish Rail's at its expense, up to and including overnight accommodation if the journey is not possible to complete same day.
- Abandon your journey for a full refund.
- If journey already started, but no longer is needed (e.g. you won't make your meeting anymore) return you to point of origin and issue full refund.
While this specific set of circumstances has yet to be tested, Rail Users Ireland strongly believes the provisions of EC1371/2007 apply based on the EU force majeure ruling available here Opinion Of Advocate General
Should Irish Rail fail to reply to your complaint within 1 month, fail to provide a 'reasoned reply' or deny you refund/compensation you may file a complaint with the National Transport Authority who have the power under Irish law to fine Irish Rail for non compliance or to seek High Court orders mandating action or changes. In order to seek redress under EC1371/2007 the complaint must be made in the first instance with the transport undertaking, Irish Rail (though if your ticket was sold by Translink in Northern Ireland you may file complaint through them)
Scope of disruption
This represents our best insight into the situation. As a large number of trains are out of place even with drivers available services may be cancelled due lack of trains. In the case of Sligo, Waterford and Rosslare the only available platform is already occupied by a train thus no train can terminate there.
Dublin Rosslare services will operate to from Wicklow (or possibly Arklow) as this is a point where drivers swap. Gorey Dublin services will continue to operate - Shared facilities at Rosslare Harbour with Bus Eireann.
Sligo services likely to operate as far as Longford as this is a point where drivers swap - Shared facilities at Sligo with Bus Eireann.
No direct service, no service Limerick - Limerick Junction - Shared facilities at Limerick with Bus Eireann.
Full service to resume by midday. Unclear why Cork station was closed as Bus Eireann station is completely separate.
Service between Tralee and Mallow is partially operating. Tralee station is shared with Bus Eireann, potential for disruption.
Full service on all routes originating from Gorey, Athlone, Longford, Portlaoise, Kildare, Newbridge, Drogheda, Dundalk, Maynooth, M3 Parkway as well as all DART services.
Cobh/Midleton - Cork - Mallow resume at 11am. Unclear why Cork station was closed as Bus Eireann station is completely separate.
Limited service, possibly only Dublin Athlone - Shared facilities at Galway with Bus Eireann.
Limited service, possibly only Dublin Killkenny/Carlow. Only available platform in Warterford is blocked with a train - Shared offices at Waterford with Bus Eireann.
Possible disruption, but appears to be running, again risk of services Dublin Athlone only.
No service on Galway - Limerick - Limerick Junction - Waterford and Nenagh Branch - Shared facilities at Galway/Limerick/Waterford with Bus Eireann.