Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Citylink Complete Acquisition of GoBus

Options
  • 07-03-2021 7:35pm
    #1
    Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭


    According to well placed sources and a number of media outlets in Ireland and beyond, ComfortDelGro, the owners of Irish Citylink, have made a bid for Galway based GoBus, run by Jim Burke and Sons.

    ComfortDelGro already have notified Competition and Consumer Protection Commission last week of the intended acquisition but it is not yet known as to whether the deal includes all or just part of it's Galway based rival.

    Citylink Current routes.+
    - Galway - Ballinasloe - Athlone - Dublin - Dublin Airport
    - Galway - Dublin City - Dublin Airport Non Stop
    - Galway - Dublin Airport Non Stop
    - Limerick - Dublin Airport Non Stop
    - Galway - Limerick - Cork - Cork Airport
    - Galway - Clifden

    GoBus current routes
    - Galway - Dublin City - Dublin Airport Non Stop
    - Galway - Ballina
    - Cork - Dublin Non Stop

    Obviously this is going to make Citylink pretty dominant in Galway when it comes to the bus transport, as well as filling in the missing link in their network between Cork and Dublin, if they could get a link to Limerick as well somehow then this would make them have a really significant network.

    Since both of the licenses for Dublin to Galway express service would end up in the same company, it'll be interesting to see how the NTA handle this from a licensing point of view considering their two express licenses per corridor guideline that they tend to stick to because there is no doubt it will result in a lessening of competition if they hold both.

    Will Citylink try and operate them as two different brands to try and stop someone else coming in, or will they be forced to transfer both lots of services to the same license to allow another operator to start up on Dublin to Galway non stop. You'd have to think that if a license did come avaliable, then Bus Eireann might look at this as a way into a market they previously could not partake in. Alternatively Dublin Coach, National Express or Aircoach might be interested, post pandemic.
    Post edited by devnull on


«134

Comments

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I'm guessing they will be forced to bring in a third party who will take the Galway - Dublin route. No way they will be allowed to keep that to themselves. The only reason that route has such good service is the competition


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    I'm guessing they will be forced to bring in a third party who will take the Galway - Dublin route. No way they will be allowed to keep that to themselves. The only reason that route has such good service is the competition

    Be interesting how they'd do that and what operator would be willing to take on such a license against what would be a very strong incumbent. Bus Eireann would be the ones who are best placed as they already have a Galway to Dublin customer base to work from rather than starting from zilch.

    You'd assume that if they have to do that, they'd try and do it in a way that would allow them to try and tempt the GoBus Galway customers to themselves by some clever marketing and contact with the GoBus customer base, even if they end up having to dispense with the GoBus license itself.

    No doubt a lot of this is about the Dublin to Cork license. That's a missing link in their network really. With them having services terminating in both Dublin and Cork already, it's not going to be hugely inconvenient operationally and it shows that ComfortDelGro are here to stay.

    The smaller and/or family run companies such as GoBus probably have come under increasing pressure financially due to the pandemic, whereas the bigger multinationals with their deeper pockets are going to be better placed to see it out. I wouldn't be surprised to see more deals of this like in Ireland and the UK.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Wow, that is very big news!

    I've mixed emotions on it. It is always sad to see an Irish family run business get swallowed up by the a big multinational.

    I was pretty critical of GoBus's launch in Cork and the multiple mistakes they made during the first few years, but fair play to them over the latter few years they had corrected most of those mistakes and I had pretty much completely moved over from using Aircoach to using GoBus to Cork. That had become a pretty decent service.

    But if anyone is going to buy GoBus, from the Cork perspective I'm delighted that it is Citylink. I've always felt that Citylink were by far the best intercity coach operator in Ireland, a big step up from all the others. Every time I'd go to Galway on the lovely Vanhool overdeckers it has been an absolute pleasure.

    I'd assume they will continue to use the Volvo's to Cork, but in time I'd love to see some Vanhools on the route. They could be serious competition for Aircoach and Irish Rail. The Gobus service already felt like a slight step above Aircoach, but if Citylink eventually bring Vanhools to the table, it would be a big step up and serious competition.

    At least I'm glad it isn't Dublin Coach or Aircoach (in terms of reduced options to Cork).

    Of course that brings us to the downside of this deal, the big reduction in competition to Galway. I'd hope the competition authority would require them to give up one of the licenses for the Galway route then.

    Who would go for that route? Devnull already mentioned BE and that makes sense given their existing presence on the route. On the other hand, it feels like BE aren't really interested in Expressway any more, it feels like they are largely shrinking it and refocusing on PSO services instead. I wouldn't be at all surprised if BE spilt Expressway off and sold it off to a private operator. But I could be totally wrong about that, just a gut feeling.

    Aircoach might be interested. About 6 months ago the CEO of Aircoach had an interview in one of the papers. She said she expected mergers to happen and Aircoach were keen to jump on good deals and expand. Adding Galway to their network would greatly strengthen their network.

    Then of course there is Dublin Coach, I hope not.

    But that brings up an interesting point, what about Dublin Coach? They most be an obvious target for take over too. They seemed to be struggling for cash before covid and the owners game plan normally seems to be sell out to a big multinational. So could DC be on the bidding block too?

    DC's network would be a great fit for either Citylink or Aircoach.

    Citylink, while they already have a service from Limerick to Dublin Airport, there is the obvious gap of no service to Dublin city, buying DC would fill that nicely and they would also gain a Belfast and Waterford service. Between Gobus and DC, Citylink would end up with a complete network to every city in Ireland!!

    Likewise, Airchach would benefit buying DC by eliminating a competitor on the Belfast route and adding Limerick and Waterford to their network, giving them almost a complete network too.

    Either of the above would leave them in a powerful spot. Of course there is always other possible players and maybe DC are fine.

    Just some speculation on my part.

    Oh and yes the Cork - Limerick - Galway service will be in a nice spot for Citylink when the M20 is done.

    Articles here, but require subscription:

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/citylink-plans-to-overtake-rival-operator-gobus-tqwlxgqz3

    https://www.businesspost.ie/companies/citylink-bids-for-gobus-on-behalf-of-transport-giant-db2c426e

    And confirmation that the CCPC is reviewing the deal here, looks pretty firm to me if approved:
    https://www.ccpc.ie/business/mergers-acquisitions/merger-notifications/m-21-009-citylink-gobus/


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    @OP. Are you referring to the article in the reputable newspaper link below? your post reads like it’s a secret but pretty clear from the article below

    https://www.businesspost.ie/companies/citylink-bids-for-gobus-on-behalf-of-transport-giant-db2c426e

    Big news and to be honest sad to read. Gobus are a great service orientated company, it was them who forced citylink to up their game on the Dublin to Galway route (toilets, WiFi, coach standards). Not to mention they are locally owned in Galway by a very decent family.

    Just on the discussion of Dublin coach picking up any pieces, I don’t see this happening, their cash cow quick park is I longer theirs (see below which explains the rocks blocking the entrance, assume landlord did this) and they look to be in real trouble cash wise.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/developer-gerry-gannon-entitled-to-2-18m-airport-car-park-rent-1.4467400


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Mayo_fan wrote: »
    @OP. Are you referring to the article in the reputable newspaper link below? your post reads like it’s a secret but pretty clear from the article below

    https://www.businesspost.ie/companies/citylink-bids-for-gobus-on-behalf-of-transport-giant-db2c426e

    Big news and to be honest sad to read. Gobus are a great service orientated company, it was them who forced citylink to up their game on the Dublin to Galway route (toilets, WiFi, coach standards). Not to mention they are locally owned in Galway by a very decent family.
    It's been rumoured since the middle of last week that something was afoot. The newspapers are simply backing up what I had heard on the grapevine but didn't have enough to firm it up to a point where I was confident of posting it here.
    Just on the discussion of Dublin coach picking up any pieces, I don’t see this happening, their cash cow quick park is I longer theirs (see below which explains the rocks blocking the entrance, assume landlord did this) and they look to be in real trouble cash wise.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/commercial-property/developer-gerry-gannon-entitled-to-2-18m-airport-car-park-rent-1.4467400

    I wasn't aware of that. Certainly that means that they are likely to be more of a target to be taken over than taking over anyone themselves unless they get some financial backing from somewhere, which would certainly not be easy right now.

    You would have to think that ComfortDelGro (who would then become by far the biggest private scheduled coach operator), First and National Express are the favourites should they go onto the market. The outside bets might be Go-Ahead (who traditionally don't do much coach work) or another group looking to enter the market.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 25,786 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble


    Would JJ Kavanagh be a potential operator to take a Galway/Dublin license? They only have a weekly student service from Birr over here at the moment (may not be running now).


  • Registered Users Posts: 35 Grandad99


    A friend works for Aircoach, she tells me they have been given a Dublin - Galway licence. Service expected to start in July.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Grandad99 wrote: »
    A friend works for Aircoach, she tells me they have been given a Dublin - Galway licence. Service expected to start in July.

    Wow, more big news. Glad it isn't DC anyway. This gives Aircoach a really nice network too now. Dublin to Cork, Galway and Belfast. Just missing Limerick.

    It will be interesting, Aircoach will need to up the quality of the coaches they use. Galway is use to a higher standard then they currently operate to Cork.

    I'd say it will be all to play to see if DC are up for sale too and if Aircoach or Citylink get it. I'd think Citylink are a slightly better fit, given it would give them a Belfast route and they already have a presence in Limerick.

    Maybe Aircoach and Citylink would divide DC routes up between each other. Will be interesting to watch how this all plays out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭belfast stephen


    would Aircoach have the fleet to start a Galway service or would they need extra services and i assume they would open a base in Galway


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    would Aircoach have the fleet to start a Galway service or would they need extra services and i assume they would open a base in Galway

    There are a couple of possibilities:
    - They buy the existing GoBus coaches
    - They sub-contract the continued use of the existing GoBus coaches
    - They bring in spare coaches from the UK First group, like when they started the Cork route. I think they may also have some extra coaches spare due to getting new coaches for Cork etc.

    The first two would depend on the nature of the deal between Citylink, GoBus and Aircoach.

    Did Citylink buy Jim Burkes entire company including coaches, or perhaps just the Cork route license, etc. Many possible variants here.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Grandad99 wrote: »
    A friend works for Aircoach, she tells me they have been given a Dublin - Galway licence. Service expected to start in July.

    The takeover of GoBus by Citylink is not complete at this stage and there are still submissions being made in relation to CCPC for a few more days yet and after that a decision will have to be made in relation to whether it can go ahead and what remedies might need to happen to allow it to happen.

    The two express licenses for Dublin to Galway remain with ComfortDelgro Limited Irish CityLink (CityLink) and Evobus and Coach Ltd (GoBus). Whilst there have been discussions and rumours as who may pick up some licenses if the merged company was forced to relinquish them, no transfer of license has yet taken place.

    Therefore it is hard to understand how Aircoach would have already been granted a license because it would go against all precedent to issue a third express license on that corridor and GoBus or CityLink are not going to sell a license before the takeover has gone through and if they had already sold one of them, they wouldn't still be operating as they'd no longer have a license to do so.

    What I have heard is there may have been discussions about another operator (name was not mentioned) taking over one of the licenses should the takeover be rubber stamped and this measure be required to push it through. The two companies involved in this takeover/merger may have proactively suggested this as a remedy as they knew it would be a problem for the CCPC and may already have a buyer lined up.

    I'm not saying that Aircoach are not going to get the license, but it's not a done deal yet.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,682 ✭✭✭✭Jamie2k9


    Is there a particular reason why the NTA would prefer 2 private operators on the route. I don't buy the whole competition argument on a city pair like this. Just look at BE scrapping most express services.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    devnull wrote: »
    Therefore it is hard to understand how Aircoach would have already been granted a license because it would go against all precedent to issue a third express license on that corridor and GoBus or CityLink are not going to sell a license before the takeover has gone through and if they had already sold one of them, they wouldn't still be operating as they'd no longer have a license to do so.

    What I have heard is there may have been discussions about another operator (name was not mentioned) taking over one of the licenses should the takeover be rubber stamped and this measure be required to push it through. The two companies involved in this takeover/merger may have proactively suggested this as a remedy as they knew it would be a problem for the CCPC and may already have a buyer lined up.

    During mergers where they are likely to be monopoly concerns it isn't unusual at all for the company doing the taking over to come to an agreement with a third company to take over the parts that would cause concern (for a price obviously) before the merger happens and to include that in the merger proposal. This way they can avoid any delays in the merger and ensure it gets quick approval.

    It is very common and I can think of many examples.

    Another possibility is that GoBus sold that two licenses separately. The Galway to Aircoach and the Cork one to Citylink.

    Maybe Aircoach were actually the first movers here? Maybe they bought the Galway license and Citylink responded by buying GoBus to get the remaining Cork license to fight back?

    Of course that isn't to say that any of this is true, I don't have any inside knowledge. Just that it wouldn't be surprising if true. Competition authority tend to take this sort of stuff seriously.
    Jamie2k9 wrote: »
    Is there a particular reason why the NTA would prefer 2 private operators on the route. I don't buy the whole competition argument on a city pair like this. Just look at BE scrapping most express services.

    The BE Expressway licenses were different, they were stopping licenses, rather then non stop direct and mostly they pre-dated the NTA forming.

    Also BE has only scrapped a small number of Expressway routes, they still have many.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    bk wrote: »
    Another possibility is that GoBus sold that two licenses separately. The Galway to Aircoach and the Cork one to Citylink.

    Maybe Aircoach were actually the first movers here? Maybe they bought the Galway license and Citylink responded by buying GoBus to get the remaining Cork license to fight back?

    Evobus and Coach Ltd (GoBus) are still the legal owners of both the Dublin to Galway and Dublin to Cork licenses. They continue to operate services under their own name and under the previously awarded licenses. No licenses have changed hands from what I understand.

    Realistically no licenses are going to change hands until the outcome of the CCPC investigation is concluded. There might well be potential deals that have been lined up to satisfy the CCPC, but these are not going to formally go through until the takeover itself goes through and it hasn't yet.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Jamie2k9 wrote: »
    Is there a particular reason why the NTA would prefer 2 private operators on the route. I don't buy the whole competition argument on a city pair like this. Just look at BE scrapping most express services.

    Competition is good for the consumer. Just take a look at the quality of the buses on the Galway-Dublin route versus some others. They're miles apart because these companies have to maintain high standards to get and keep customers


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    devnull wrote: »
    Evobus and Coach Ltd (GoBus) are still the legal owners of both the Dublin to Galway and Dublin to Cork licenses. They continue to operate services under their own name and under the previously awarded licenses. No licenses have changed hands from what I understand.

    Realistically no licenses are going to change hands until the outcome of the CCPC investigation is concluded. There might well be potential deals that have been lined up to satisfy the CCPC, but these are not going to formally go through until the takeover itself goes through and it hasn't yet.

    Of course any deals would be provisional, pending the go ahead of the CCPC, etc.

    One thought just jumped to mind. What about Callinan Coaches?

    Are Citylink taking over the whole of GoBus including their coaches? Would that mean they'd stop using Callinan Coaches? Or would the the GoBus coaches be separated out into a different company and remain under Jim Burke ownership?

    Either scenarios would allow whichever company takes the old GoBus license to Galway if that happens, to use either Callinan or Jim Burkes coaches as a sub-contractor and depots, depending on the format of the deal.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25 Bumblebee2020


    Aircoachs new licence has nothing to do with take overs or too many operators on the route, they applied a few months ago for a new route licences.
    They have watched Dualway’s Airport hopper Maynooth route and watched what that took in.
    The Galway route will have stops in Maynooth and Athlone with Dublin Airport/Galway as start finish point.
    They are simply taking the time to do new licences as they hadn’t the time to do it before and while other companies are still off the road they willl try get a customer base in these areas along the way.
    Good thinking!
    I do think we will see new routes popping up now because this is the time for operators to apply for them, even if they are not used operators will apply for them and put the ground work in now.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Aircoachs new licence has nothing to do with take overs or too many operators on the route, they applied a few months ago for a new route licences.
    They have watched Dualway’s Airport hopper Maynooth route and watched what that took in.
    The Galway route will have stops in Maynooth and Athlone with Dublin Airport/Galway as start finish point.
    They are simply taking the time to do new licences as they hadn’t the time to do it before and while other companies are still off the road they willl try get a customer base in these areas along the way.
    Good thinking!
    I do think we will see new routes popping up now because this is the time for operators to apply for them, even if they are not used operators will apply for them and put the ground work in now.

    No operator has the ability to just decide to do new licenses when they feel like it and get approval just like that because it has to go through an approval process with the National Transport Authority and whether a license is granted depends on if the application is acceptable under the NTA's published guidelines. This takes far more than a few weeks normally.

    Part of that involves ensuring that there are not too many operators on a route. The NTA has been consistent in applying two operators per corridor (Express and Multistop are considered separate) and I've seen nothing to suggest that their opinion in that regard has changed whatsoever and no license was issued up to 21st February as publicly published NTA documents prove this.

    Aircoach by their own admission have had a lot of downtime in the last year, the MD herself said in the press recently that they've been using the time to revamp their website, social media and booking engine among other things, so I simply don't buy the idea that they've only just got around to it. Even pre-pandemic Dervla McKay was saying they were actively looking at new routes.

    Even if they have a license, the idea that they'll launch now to jump start anyone who isn't running is rather fanciful. The areas that you mention already have GoBus, Citylink (x2) and Bus Eireann serving them and whilst Airport Hopper isn't operating, that service ran a mini coach every hour that wasn't exactly heaving on a regular basis and only served people going to the airport, where demand is almost zero right now. Going into that corridor would be a tough battle at the best of times. Going into it when the demand has been slaughtered by COVID just seems illogical.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    devnull wrote: »
    Part of that involves ensuring that there are not too many operators on a route. The NTA has been consistent in applying two operators per corridor (Express and Multistop are considered separate) and I've seen nothing to suggest that their opinion in that regard has changed whatsoever and no license was issued up to 21st February as publicly published NTA documents prove this.

    It sounds like it could be a semi-express service, if truly just Galway - Athlone - Maynooth - Dublin, it could fall between both the existing Express and multi-stop services and might get a license on that basis?

    And if it skips Dublin and goes straight to Dublin Airport, even more different, more like Eireagle.

    Might explain partly why GoBus have decided to sell up.

    Having said this, I'm surprised that Aircoach would start a service like this to Galway where there is so much competition already, rather then say Limerick which could do with more options.Though perhaps Athlone and Maynooth are the real draw here for Aircoach.

    Of course all just speculation on my part.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,786 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble


    bk wrote: »
    IHaving said this, I'm surprised that Aircoach would start a service like this to Galway where there is so much competition already, rather then say Limerick which could do with more options.Though perhaps Athlone and Maynooth are the real draw here for Aircoach.

    Of course all just speculation on my part.

    Limerick to Dublin has JJ Kavanagh, Dublin Coach and CityLink. And not so many tourists.

    Personally I think a bus from Galway stopping in Maynooth could be handy, it's a difficult spot to get to unless you want to pay train fares.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 25 Bumblebee2020


    devnull wrote: »
    No operator has the ability to just decide to do new licenses when they feel like it and get approval just like that because it has to go through an approval process with the National Transport Authority and whether a license is granted depends on if the application is acceptable under the NTA's published guidelines. This takes far more than a few weeks normally.

    Part of that involves ensuring that there are not too many operators on a route. The NTA has been consistent in applying two operators per corridor (Express and Multistop are considered separate) and I've seen nothing to suggest that their opinion in that regard has changed whatsoever and no license was issued up to 21st February as publicly published NTA documents prove this.

    Aircoach by their own admission have had a lot of downtime in the last year, the MD herself said in the press recently that they've been using the time to revamp their website, social media and booking engine among other things, so I simply don't buy the idea that they've only just got around to it. Even pre-pandemic Dervla McKay was saying they were actively looking at new routes.

    Even if they have a license, the idea that they'll launch now to jump start anyone who isn't running is rather fanciful. The areas that you mention already have GoBus, Citylink (x2) and Bus Eireann serving them and whilst Airport Hopper isn't operating, that service ran a mini coach every hour that wasn't exactly heaving on a regular basis and only served people going to the airport, where demand is almost zero right now. Going into that corridor would be a tough battle at the best of times. Going into it when the demand has been slaughtered by COVID just seems illogical.

    Thanks for updating me on how I apply for licences, I’ve only done a handful in my experience, the reason the document wasn’t updated with the NTA was because the NTA gave the smaller operators a chance with out of date license they where all given a few months grace, a licence normally takes 6months to get approved for a new licence and 3months for a amendment because of the pandemic it’s now 12weeks and 6weeks they hope to pass them for you.

    Aircoach started training their drivers today in this new route and have hopes to start it up in July along with their 700 starting back up, they have the licence for Galway granted as a lot of ground work went into the Galway licence. The Airport Hopper maynooth was a big hit for the students and that’s what Aircoach have looked at how viable the student market is hence the link between Galway/Athlone/Maynooth like Wexford Buses new service toMaynooth (only ran for a few weeks in Nov/Dec) the student market is big and it’s a new day for operators as the Airport might not bounce back for a few years so where will the money come from?


  • Registered Users Posts: 25 Bumblebee2020


    devnull wrote: »
    No operator has the ability to just decide to do new licenses when they feel like it and get approval just like that because it has to go through an approval process with the National Transport Authority and whether a license is granted depends on if the application is acceptable under the NTA's published guidelines. This takes far more than a few weeks normally.

    Part of that involves ensuring that there are not too many operators on a route. The NTA has been consistent in applying two operators per corridor (Express and Multistop are considered separate) and I've seen nothing to suggest that their opinion in that regard has changed whatsoever and no license was issued up to 21st February as publicly published NTA documents prove this.

    Aircoach by their own admission have had a lot of downtime in the last year, the MD herself said in the press recently that they've been using the time to revamp their website, social media and booking engine among other things, so I simply don't buy the idea that they've only just got around to it. Even pre-pandemic Dervla McKay was saying they were actively looking at new routes.

    Even if they have a license, the idea that they'll launch now to jump start anyone who isn't running is rather fanciful. The areas that you mention already have GoBus, Citylink (x2) and Bus Eireann serving them and whilst Airport Hopper isn't operating, that service ran a mini coach every hour that wasn't exactly heaving on a regular basis and only served people going to the airport, where demand is almost zero right now. Going into that corridor would be a tough battle at the best of times. Going into it when the demand has been slaughtered by COVID just seems illogical.

    Thanks for updating me on how I apply for licences, I’ve only done a handful in my experience, the reason the document wasn’t updated with the NTA was because the NTA gave the smaller operators a chance with out of date license they where all given a few months grace, a licence normally takes 6months to get approved for a new licence and 3months for a amendment because of the pandemic it’s now 12weeks and 6weeks they hope to pass them for you.

    Aircoach started training their drivers today in this new route and have hopes to start it up in July along with their 700 starting back up, they have the licence for Galway granted as a lot of ground work went into the Galway licence. The Airport Hopper maynooth was a big hit for the students and that’s what Aircoach have looked at how viable the student market is hence the link between Galway/Athlone/Maynooth like Wexford Buses new service toMaynooth (only ran for a few weeks in Nov/Dec) the student market is big and it’s a new day for operators as the Airport might not bounce back for a few years so where will the money come from?


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Limerick to Dublin has JJ Kavanagh, Dublin Coach and CityLink. And not so many tourists.

    Sure, but that is still less competition on either the Cork, Galway or Belfast route.

    Dublin Coach is the only somewhat direct service on this corridor, while Cork has Aircoach/Gobus, Galway Citylink/Gobus, Belfast Dublin Coach/Aircoach

    JJ Kavangh is a mutlistop service, Citylink is Eireagle and thus skips Dublin City and heads direct to the airport.

    Even Dublin Coach isn't a true non-stop service like Galway/Cork have. It is a limited stop, semi-express service, stopping at Annacotty, Kildare Village and Red Cow.

    I'd feel like there is a very obvious gap in this corridor for a true non-stop express service doing Limerick - Dublin City (and maybe Dublin Airport).

    Seen how overcrowded DC coaches often seem to be. A direct non stop service (at least from UL) that took 15 or 20 minutes off DC could make a killing IMO.

    But I take your point on Galway having a lot more tourists. But wouldn't tourists heading to Galway, just take the faster direct Citylink/GoBus services versus this possible new Aircoach stopping service?
    Personally I think a bus from Galway stopping in Maynooth could be handy, it's a difficult spot to get to unless you want to pay train fares.

    Very true.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    CCPC have now completed their initial investigation.

    They've now asked for the parties to supply more information before the matter can be considered further.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Just an update that this investigation is still going on.

    However it appears that the Galway to Ballina route is now operated by Cummer Coaches Ltd (also owned by Jim Burke) as opposed to the Evobus and Coach Ltd t/a GoBus which it was previously, that the Galway to Dublin and the Cork to Dublin routes remain under.

    In addition it's widely believed that Cummer Coaches Ltd have got a license application in for a route from Castlebar to Dublin Airport which they are considering launching later this year to tie in with the local Ballina route that also serves Castlebar.

    The fact they're split the routes under two separate entities would suggest to me that any deal for GoBus by CityLink would involve Jim Burke in keeping hold of the Castlebar to Dublin Airport and Ballina to Galway route.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,786 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble


    FWIW, Aircoach now have a Galway page on their website, with a Book Tickets link at the bottom. No listed routes (yet).

    https://www.aircoach.ie/galway


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    FWIW, Aircoach now have a Galway page on their website, with a Book Tickets link at the bottom. No listed routes (yet).

    https://www.aircoach.ie/galway

    There's a timetable placeholder page as well:
    https://www.aircoach.ie/plan-journey/timetables/706

    Nothing to suggest the route or the times or prices yet though.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,590 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Looks like Aircoach has the license too, from the NTA license spreadsheet:

    Last Passive Ltd - Aircoach - 21009 - 706/706X - Regular - 22/04/2024 - Galway - Dublin Airport

    And from the timetable page, they say:
    "Travel to Galway with Aircoach on our 706 bus route which runs 10 express services daily from Dublin City Centre or from Dublin Airport to Galway Coach Station in Galway City Centre"

    So looks like Aircoach will be going to Galway too now. I'd note that GoBus's schedule is also 10 services daily on most days (with two extra Friday/Sunday). So maybe just taking over GoBus service.

    Sounds like we may end up with both Galway and Cork having both Citylink and Aircoach operating the routes.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    I would be confident that Athlone, Ballinasloe and Maynooth are going to be involved in the standard 706 based on what I've heard today.

    I'm not sure on what the Dublin based terminus will be but the Galway one will certainly be the coach station.

    The 706X is a bit of an unknown still, but I assume it is missing some of them out.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 11,595 Mod ✭✭✭✭devnull


    Stops of the 706 are believed to include:

    - Athlone Arcadia Centre
    - Athlone Institute of Technology
    - Ballinasloe, Dunlo Street (and potentially one more)
    - Galway Coach Station
    - Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.

    Maynooth stop is not yet set in stone apparently but they're looking at an area that would tie in with other methods of transport, so near train station or bus terminus in Maynooth might be good bets.


Advertisement