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Dublin Airport Bus Service Changes

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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    No it doesn't appear to offer that!

    First of all Dublin Airport isn't an option in the drop down selector. But even if you do say Heuston to Cork, it doesn't seem to offer Dublin Express as an add on in the extras page for that trip! That is surprising.



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Aircoach

    It's good to see they have stopped answering reviews with automatically generated responses. They totally ignore them now.

    Aircoach appear to be dropping less trips than they were before, but they are still dropping them at peak times with long waits still occurring. Unfortunately cancellations are no longer being posted on social media and the coach tracker is totally gone from the Aircoach website for months now so there is no transparency of cancellations at all for walk up customers. Simply not good enough.

    They claim they are listening to customers by changing the rules allowing them to take a later coach in the event of a flight delay up to 24 hours, but in reality they already were allowing customers do that before, even if they didn't specify 24 hours.

    They have believed to have placed an order for new coaches for next year, but not sure what.

    Dublin Express

    I see that Dublin Express are hiring a new project manager to help 'win, chase and manage new bids' which will 'help build the business beyond Dublin Express' which tells you all you need to know about the ambitions for National Express here.

    Still have to say I'm not hugely impressed with their customer care though, appears to be very much UK based and that is room for improvement.

    Also a bit odd you can buy an open return ticket for their services on NationalExpress.com but not on their own website.

    GoBus/CityLink

    There are talks ongoing about changes in relation to these new companies that could happen in the new year.



  • Registered Users Posts: 200 ✭✭Ronald Binge Redux




  • Registered Users Posts: 17,332 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer




  • Registered Users Posts: 25,232 ✭✭✭✭coylemj


    Devnull posted:

    Unfortunately cancellations are no longer being posted on social media and the coach tracker is totally gone from the Aircoach website for months now so there is no transparency of cancellations at all for walk up customers.

    Months? I'd say more than two years. As you mentioned, they have stopped posting cancellations on FB and Twitter and when a service is cancelled, you can still buy a ticket for that departure on the mobile app. So there is no way of telling if a service is running or not. Until it fails to turn up.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,078 ✭✭✭p_haugh


    Just to point out, their coaches still track on Bustimes, but obviously that's not a very user-friendly way of checking if the service is running. So it's clear that they just disabled the coach tracking functionally on their site to try "hide" the cancellations.



  • Registered Users Posts: 17,332 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer




  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Hasn't been anywhere near that long, it's not always worked very well but it's only been several months.



  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,480 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    I noticed one of their pickup points at T2 has a NTA RTPI board at it - showing the destination of the next bus as Dublin Airport. So a complete chocolate teapot of a sign



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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Aircoach

    Aircoach have recently had a think-in with staff from the UK arm of First and local management about how to commercially combat what the competition is doing. Hopefully something good will come out of it but at the same time where they are falling down isn't exactly rocket science. And also I'm not sure that the best people to be asking for commercial advice in the Irish coach market are those in the UK bus market as the two are totally different. But proof is in the pudding as they say.

    In more positive news though, there is talk that tracking may be coming back to the mobile app that will allow people to track their coach that they have booked. Not sure how that this is going to work and personally I think the way to go is a proper tracking tool on the website and the mobile app that will allow anyone to track the services freely. I'd be against anything that would essentially only allow people to track services they had pre-booked for as that is not an acceptable level of transparency.

    Better news is Aircoach have won the Safety award at the 2024 Fleet Bus and Coach Awards.

    Dublin Express

    Dublin Express has won the Coach Operator Award 2024 - Intercity/Airport Service at the Fleet Bus & Coach Awards 




  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Dublin Bus Airlink Routes 747 and 757 Set to Return?

    As of the end of October, Dublin Bus has been granted two new route license for two routes to Dublin Airport

    • 747 from Dublin Airport to Heuston Station
    • 757 from Dublin Airport to Dublin Airport (circular loop, route not disclosed)

    The previous licenses that Dublin Bus had for these routes had expired and were not renewed, but these two licenses are under new license numbers and therefore are the result of a more recent application.

    It has been obvious for some time that driver shortages have meant that the airport is not served as well as it could be in terms of capacity to Dublin City centre and using higher capacity vehicles was always going to be a commercially sensible way of transporting more passengers without needing additional drivers.

    I've been hinting this has been a sensible way forward to address capacity issues at the airport for a while. What we are likely to see if Dublin Bus go ahead with these services, is that the 747/757 will undercut the Dublin Express 782/784 by a little, but will have the ability to hover up an extra 15-20 passengers will help reduce the issues that passengers have with waits and not being able to board buses to the airport. The 747/757 could serve as a cheaper, higher capacity competitor to Dublin Express, the same was as it did with Aircoach previously.

    There are some unanswered questions though namely

    • Is it right that Dublin Bus are potentially starting up new commercial routes at a time where services are being cancelled due to a lack of drivers?
    • Where will the services operate from in Dublin Airport? Are the stops that Aircoach have leased from DB or do they have rights to them themselves after DB ceased operating the 747/757 from the same stops?

    On the subject of Aircoach, where does this leave the 700? Lets be honest. they're losing the 782/784 Dublin Express services at this point to the city centre. DX offer a more reliable, more frequent and more comfortable service which they have marketed extremely well and built a number of good commercial deals and a substantial ticket agent network. All in all DX have heavily outmanoeuvred them commercially

    The strategy that Dublin Bus may be about to pull is one which really, Aircoach should have considered themselves considering the number of passengers I see on social media that are fed up with services being full. Yes it would have involved in a change of name for the 700 service, but the performance of the 747/757 before the pandemic shows that there is an appetite for something between a regular city bus service and a coach service that Dublin Bus exploited for many years with the high capacity 747/757. When drivers are at a premium and not being able to recruit enough means you cannot meet demand by increasing capacity by adding services, going for a higher capacity vehicle is an obvious solution to help tap into that demand without needing extra staff.



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    To be honest, I’m not really in favour of this. I worry that it leads to a situation where Dublin Bus have a conflict of interest. Operating both PSO services and commercial services to the airport. Like if they are lacking drivers, will they cancel a 16 departure or a 747, I think we all know the answer to this question.

    I think the NTA should move the 16 and 41 routes from DB to GAI a result. Also as an aside I think the NTA should lay on more frequency on the 16/41 route, particularly late night services.

    Another question about this route is what buses will DB use? The old Airlink fleet is pretty old now and in need of replacing. Sure maybe they can use it for a year or two, but then they will need to make the business decision about making a major investment in renewing the fleet.

    Spend millions on a new fleet, to face stiff competition from DX and Aircoach and eventually Metrolink comes along and destroys the value of that fleet.

    On the other hand maybe this is partly being pushed by the government behind the scenes. The airport is facing a passenger cap due to planning permission, perhaps more public transport at the airport makes it easier to overturn the cap. I’m just not sure this is the best way to go about it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy


    The NTA can't just move the routes to GAI. They would have to be put to open tender which both DB and GAI could compete for.



  • Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭AX636


    What's going around in Dublin Bus is pso drivers will not be driving these Airlinks, like the old days, instead if a driver wants to drive the Airlink they will have to apply for an interview just like the tours thats what's being mentioned at the minute apparently whoever is on tours will be doing it



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    But at the end of the day the effect is the same though isn't it?

    There will be existing PSO drivers who will apply for the Airlink routes who will move to Airlink, that would otherwise have stayed on PSO routes if Airlink didn't exist, so they'll still be robbing Peter to pay Paul as those drivers will have to be replaced.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,650 ✭✭✭✭Jamie2k9


    NTA should have made a condition of 24 hour service for these licences if they had the power. Previous Airlink was €7 (€12 return) if I am not mistaken. They might bring back €6/€10 which was the price for many years.

    Still hard to see anywhere near the 10m summer service or 15m service that was served previously.



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    That would be a really stupid thing to do, bearing in mind the shortages of drivers that we have now. Such condition would make solving the problem there currently is harder, not easier.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,650 ✭✭✭✭Jamie2k9


    It will be many many years before there is sufficent bus drivers available. It's equally stuipd of the NTA to issue a licence to an operator who cannot fullfill its current obligations. It's not unreasonable to expect 24 hours service at the airport particularly when its a new licence.



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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    I agree that there is certainly questions to be answered in terms of how an operator who cancels services on the PSO network can expand it's reach to further commercial services. Even if they are operating a separate pool of drivers, they still are taking staff that may otherwise be working on PSO routes as they're actively competing for people out of the same pool.

    However it is unreasonable to demand a service to run 24 hours a day. You're essentially saying that if we can't run services in the early hours of the morning, we should not bother to try and do something about the lack of capacity in the day either. You're literally depriving patrons on the day of the service they need out of some populist grandstanding over something that simply isn't achievable in the marketplace right now. This is literally cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    Finding staff to work the early hours is even tougher than to work them during the day. That's why the likes of AIrcoach haven't gone back to their 24 hour services since the pandemic. They know if they did they would have even bigger issues with keeping and attracting drivers than they do now. But Mary and Joe on Facebook will continue to hack away at the operators for not operating 24 hour services due to 'greed' and being 'shortsighted', whilst showing absolutely no understanding of the reasons that the service isn't 24 hours anymore.



  • Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭AX636


    Yea true, but they are getting the drivers the only problem is retaining them, the training school in DB is constantly full on two shifts.. I know of two driver's that as soon as they got their licence they left.. There is no obligation to stay when you get it which I don't think is right.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,158 ✭✭✭Citrus_8


    Need to expand a school. Doesn't make sense to have the same school capacity when clearly network expansion requires a better yield of new staff. And I completely agree that new staff should be locked in at least 12 month obligatory service contract to make it pay off the training expense to get a licence. Otherwise, if thy leave sooner, should pay a substantial amount of expenses occurred.



  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy


    Seems bizarre that they'd bring back the Airlink after letting go of the original licences which I assumed was done in order to focus on PSO routes. Also odd that they'd have drivers do a separate interview for driving the Airlink routes what's the difference between driving the Airlink and a regular route for a driver?



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,246 ✭✭✭dublinman1990


    I'm honestly amazed that Airlink is making a return to the streets of Dublin. It's comeback is going to be a much tougher market now because DX and Citylink are very much making serious inroads to taking in loads of passengers when they leave the Airport when they go into Dublin City Centre.

    If Dublin Bus were really serious in purchasing a new bus fleet to compete against the likes of these private operators. It would be a brand new all electric fleet.

    It could be a good selling point for Dublin Bus after their interim relaunch period of their routes to say that their new Airlink buses are eco-friendly to their passengers. I think all of the other private operators that currently go to either pick up or drop off passengers at Dublin Airport currently don't have any electric buses in their fleet at the moment. They all have diesel buses only in their own fleets unless some of the operators have hybrid coaches in their fleet as well?

    It would also mean that Dublin Bus would need to have charging facilities installed in their bus depots first before they rollout this new fleet for service.

    What are their plans once they have their new electric fleet?

    A) Could they place their new Airlink fleet back in it's original depot over in Summerhill.

    B) Could they place them in Harristown which is located near the airport.

    Or

    C) Could they place them in both depots at the same time even though Harristown has not got it's chargers installed yet.

    The new circular route for the 757 is an interesting idea to take on as well.

    What areas will be covered under that particular route?

    I would assume that the type of circular route that it would be taking on is probably located around the circumference or the perimeter of Dublin Airport itself rather than travelling all the way back into Dublin City Centre. The route that I could be talking about here could be around Swords and maybe some of the new stop locations for Metrolink north of Dublin Airport. There is also the hotel shuttle bus routes around Dublin Airport to take into consideration as well. What is the current status of the hotel shuttle buses that go to and from the Airport? Are those routes doing well at the moment?

    Could Dublin Bus be taking on their passengers as well or would that not breach competition law?

    I can't be wrong in thinking that Dublin Bus management were considering options like those in the near future.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,459 ✭✭✭john boye


    So many wild assumptions presented as fact here



  • Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭AX636



    There is very good reasons why they are doing it this way, plus you are handling cash, some drivers didn't feel safe handling it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭AX636


    All to be based at Broadstone, that's where all commercial buses will be based



  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy


    Interesting to see what they go for this electrics or diesels. I read somewhere else their gonna be leasing buses for this Can't see the VGs they were using being up to the task especially after sitting idle for so long.

    Wonder will they go for something more advanced than the average DB bus. I've seen some airport services in the UK use double deckers with coach style seats and tables wonder will DB go for something similar.



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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,530 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    The Stansted Airlink vehicles introduced by First in Essex are excellent, having been on one lately.

    They are 63 seaters, but have a couple of tables in them (as longer distance than Dublin to Dublin City Centre) as well as single seats on the nearside in the first couple of rows upstairs, so in reality they could be comfortably 69 seaters once you change that. Edinburgh also have some similar vehicles.

    I really don't understand why Aircoach didn't go down this road. They already have a spec of vehicle and even a livery and interior design that is not too dissimilar from their own branding colour wise. It would have allowed them to carry 150 passengers extra an hour without needing to recruit any further driving staff and would have made it much harder for a new entrant as there would be less unserved demand and higher customer satisfaction. The simple fact is that if you cannot meet levels of demand by increasing frequency, you need to by increasing capacity. Dublin Bus see this and they have spotted an opportunity, that has been presented to them. Lets make no bones about it, if the airport was adequately serviced by the current operators, DB would not even be thinking of returning to this market. When they left the market it was clear to everyone it was the commercially right thing to do. But now, circumstances are different and the airport is screaming out for more capacity.

    What we will likely have now is a reliable Dublin Bus service with high capacity, at a price cheaper than Dublin Express and Aircoach that fills the same market sector that the 747/757 always did, A comprehensive Dublin Express operation running 5-6 times per hour that benefits from first class marketing and commercial strategy with significant network of ticket agents and partnerships and an Aircoach operation that has lost it's way and gained a reputation for being unreliable.



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