Republic of Ireland Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has unveiled plans for an overhaul of public bus services.
While a Government decision has yet to be made, the initiative could lead to 10% of the routes run by Dublin Bus (DB) and Bus Éireann (BÉ) being put out to private tender as early as next year.
A Government source told the Irish Times any tendering would include a ‘balance’ between profitable and unprofitable routes. The objective was to avoid providing an opportunity for private firms to ‘cherry pick’ profit-making routes while leaving the public operators with loss-incurring routes.
A looming network review by the two state-owned firms comes against the backdrop of financial difficulties. BÉ ran a deficit of €6.2m in 2012, while DB’s deficit stood at €3.8m. The review is a condition of the Dublin Transport Authority Act of 2008, under which DB and BÉ contracted to run routes between 2009 and 2014.