The National Transport Authority (NTA) has announced today that Go-Ahead has been selected as the preferred bidder for the contract relating to the operation of 24 Public Service Obligation (PSO) bus routes in the Dublin metropolitan area. NTA has written to Go-Ahead to inform the company of the decision.
Go-Ahead is expected to begin operating some of these routes by the end of November 2018 and all routes by February 2019. The company is one of the largest bus operators in London and is recognised as one of the most successful consistently achieving high scores in customer service surveys by TfL.
Go-Ahead was established in the late 1980s in North East England with the privatisation of the National Bus Company. It grew through the acquisition of a number of bus companies and expanded into the rail market in the 1990s.
Speaking today, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham said, "This is ultimately about improving bus services for Dublin and NTA is confident that passengers will benefit from this decision. We believe that a new operator in the market will bring a fresh dimension to the way that services are offered. Introducing new providers encourages everybody to focus on their customers’ needs and it encourages innovation and improvements to service quality."
She added, "The contracting model that we are putting in place is the same as the arrangement that we have had in place for years for Luas. Luas is owned by the state and run by Transdev. These routes will be owned by the state and run by Go-Ahead."
However, the move has been heavily criticised today by the Workers's Party, who have described the deal as "a recipe for disaster." Workers’ Party Dublin Councillor, Éilis Ryan said the decision was always inevitable as the National Transport Authority is "fundamentally and institutionally biased against Dublin Bus and the concept of publicly owned transport."
Cllr. Ryan described Go-Ahead, a major worldwide bus and railway conglomerate, as a “predatory operator whose aim is profit and the destruction of its competitors”.