On the BE v Aircoach and privates thing;
You know, much as I'd put myself on the left, I get the sense that many of us millenial Corbyn support tending heads, having been born in the 1990s, have only seen the markets effect on public transport , and because we've lived through the era of bank deregulation and endless tax cuts wrecking the global economy were naturally , reflexively centre-left, this is a good thing in many areas because it keeps support for things like universal healthcare and labour rights up there, but I think having seen how bad right wing economics can get when it goes OTT (as we did in the 2008-2014 era) has made us forget, or in the case of the younger millennial, never remember at all, how bad left wing economics worked out.
I'd urge um to be less blind in supporting Corbynstyle policies and take each on it's merits.
I wonder how many of these kids who would have withdrawal symptoms if facebook wemt down, who can't cross the street without checking the feed on their phone, who complain their broadbands not fast enough, would react to it taking 6 months to get a landline (''whats a landline old man'' they may ask) from our public sector monopoly Telecom Eireann? or how they'd react to a twice as long journey with no wifi, no reclining or leather seats on a monopoly Bus Eireann route?
I know we've seen some of the worst excesses of the free market in our lifetimes, but don't think for a second there isn't an opposite extreme, don't think for one second Bus Eireann etc got their act together because they cared about customers, the entire Irish public sector not only has no customer service ethos they have an active anti-customer ethos they see us an an irritation to be managed - they improved their services because they had to, because competition was allowed, they improved them kicking and screaming the entire way, IE didn't even wanna do wifi ffsake, their literal excuse was "sure tech is always advancing we'd have to update the hardware every few years". Be under no illusions, a public-private mix might be a disaster in some areas (healthcare) but it works great in Transport. Competition is what made things better, I'm at just the right age to have experienced both and I'm telling you some of the public companies literally said services/ideas were stupid/lunacy/nonfeasible only to have a private service start that exact idea and make a fortune not long after.
The belfast based coaches all have legal lettering for first Northern Ireland there is also an office/shop in Great northern mall in belfast city centre which sells tickets as do The drivers when the office is closed. First Northern Ireland have just taken delivery of 7 new coach for the 705x service between belfast and dublin and carry Northern Ireland Reg plates
I'm surprised that EU rules haven't changed things for cross border bus travel. You don't see the airlines having to incorporate in every country they have a base so why should bus companies be obliged to.
As for Aircoach, I hope they have online vehicle tracking now because after a bad experience with them some years back I would have difficulty trusting that vehicle was actually on its way.
You clearly are not pro Irish, as you seem to have a big thing about drivers based in Belfast. Pro 26 counties perhaps, but do not pretend to be something you are not.
It is easier nowadays to know if a Dublin bus is coming than an aircoach.
I believe that there are some fuel rebate initiatives possible out of Northern Ireland that are not possible out of the Republic and also it probably entitles them to make use of agreements that First have in the UK in relation to things like insurance that due to the size of First in the UK would be better value than what Aircoach could get in ROI.
Plus NI based staff would no doubt prefer to be paid in Sterling and that way neither employer or employee needs to pay foreign exchange costs and there are probably some issues that would need to be dealt with if NI based staff were operating on ROI based vehicles or NI based vehicles had ROI based plates.
They have a new system in the office apparently installed last year and there has been talk that it will be rolled out to be customer facing - however there does not seem to be any sign of it yet. Generally their routes are quite reliable, apart from the 702/703 which is often late due to traffic in peak/shoulder peak times.