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Citylink Complete Acquisition of GoBus



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,033 ✭✭✭Vic_08

    The current licensing arrangements mean at best we get duopolys with little real competition once routes stabilise. On no "commercial" corridor have we ever had the sort of cheap fares commonly seen in countries with deregulated services.

    Never mind, in Scotland Citylink's monopoly on long distance coach doesn't result in expensive fares...

    ...Except where the rail alternative is poor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,500 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    You may have been joking.

    But I've seen exactly the "no one has the password" scenario (or similar, eg administrator rights to the Facebook page) in a couple of takeovers, including one public transport one.

    It happens.

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

    More services being added by both brands.

    Apparently there might be more to come as well. The more they add, the less chance we are going to have of any real competition on this route.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,500 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    CityLink have been drip feeding new services into the timetable, 2 or 3 at time, for the last few months.

    I travelled up and back with them on Monday. Pleasantly surprised that the web-fare is still €13 each way. Buses were totally full though, and the non-air-con coming back wad horrid.

    Suspect supply and demand being very tightly managed.

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

    Yes, I noticed that and I was curious about if there was a conscious decision to do that before the takeover went through, since lets face it, the combination of these two companies has been in the fire for at least 18 months.

    It was referred to CCPC all the way back in March 2021. I am honestly surprised it took so long to complete, which is why the rumours came out about it being off.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,033 ✭✭✭Vic_08

    Obviously Citylink believe they can run both brands, keep both licences and block anyone else from competing.

    I guess their opinion of the NTA's interest or ability to put passengers interests ahead of operator's profits match mine.

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

    GoBus have now added another two services

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

    GoBus have announced that they will be revising fares on their Dublin to Galway Service

    The majority of changes effect on bus fares.

    Dublin City to Galway On Bus Fare Changes

    • Adult and child single fares increase by €1
    • Adult and child return fares increase by €2
    • Family single increases by €2
    • Family return increases by €6
    • No changes to student fares

    Dublin Airport to Galway On Bus Fare Changes

    • Adult single increases by €1
    • Adult return increases by €2
    • Child return drops by €1
    • Family single increases by €5
    • Family return drops by €2.
    • No changes to student fares

  • Registered Users Posts: 996 ✭✭✭mikeybhoy

    I see GoBus have gotten some brand new Volvo 9700 that they're using on their Dublin to Cork route. These buses are in a new livery with both GoBus and CityLink branding. Have to say the coaches look lovely and and so does the livery.

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

    Interesting that they've gone down that path on the Dublin to Cork route where CityLink have never had a presence.

    It would make more sense from a customer perspective to have something like that on the Dublin to Galway Express route, especially when they're using the same stops at Dublin Airport, accepting each others tickets and the CityLink timetable includes GoBus services.

    But I suspect there may well be other reasons why they are not doing it on the Galway route.

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  • Moderators, Regional South Moderators Posts: 5,680 Mod ✭✭✭✭Quackster

    I imagine it's a transitional branding and the GoBus part will eventually be removed.

    They may see a benefit of maintaining two separate brands on Dublin-Galway, at least in the short term, to discourage competitors from snapping up the licence that surely is now available.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,870 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    Can I double-check that in terms of Galway city to Dublin airport by public transport, options now are as follows:

    (1) train + bus to airport

    (2) Citylink/GoBus, one company, two brands, routes 720X,760, 761

    Some go direct to airport

    Some go via Dublin city centre

    (3) Aircoach via Athlone, route 706 and 706 X

    BE 20 route is gone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 227 ✭✭DaBluBoi

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,500 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Or travelling via Limerick (routes 51, 343 and 712x), which just suggested to me! 😉 Am surprised the website didn't die laughing at the 7 journey time.

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

    On Bus Price rises have taken effect on CityLink over the weekend which sees them rise in line with GoBus fares which had a price increase in August.

    Galway - Dublin City:

    Single: €18 (was €16)

    Return: €29 (was €27)

    Galway - Dublin Airport:

    Single: €22 (was €21)

    Return: €34 (was €32)

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,680 ✭✭✭✭flazio

    That's just as much to do with the diesel costs as it is the lack of competition.

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

    I see that most recent timetable on the Galway route now sees Citylink operating up to five services an hour between Dublin and Galway if you include all the various routes which they operate between them and Gobus.

    GoBus is also now being based out of the Citylink premises in Galway rather than their own and there has also been some stop moves that sees GoBus services moving to CityLink stops at Dublin Airport, both of these will obviously save money. However despite this and accepting each others tickets, they continue to operate Gobus and Citylink services with their own licenses. This suggests that there is no further licenses available for any would be competitors to inject some proper competition.

    We've also seen a change in vehicle choice by CityLink, who now no longer appear to be purchasing from the more premium Vanhool TDX range like they have done for the last few years and are now buying the cheaper EX range for their services. Contrast this to the Cork to Dublin Route when they have strong competition and have gone with new very high spec co-branded vehicles that are normally reserved for premium luxury touring vehicles.

    From all intents and purposes the Aircoach service doesn't seem to be doing that well at all and unless something changes then I would assume that CityLink may soon have that corridor to itself unless something changes to add some real, strong, proper competition on that corridor.

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

    "Contrast this to the Cork to Dublin Route when they have strong competition and have gone with new very high spec co-branded vehicles that are normally reserved for premium luxury touring vehicles."

    Are they? When I took them to Cork at Christmas, they seemed fine, but not all different from the older GoBus Volvo's, at least from the passengers perspective. Nice and fresh of course, but to be honest I found the Vanhools I took in the past better then them, though I haven't been on the new EX you mention.

    Are the new GoBus Volvo 9900's?

    I do love the livery of the GoBus, looks fantastic and one of the best around. Drivers were fantastic too, very professional and friendly, even gave my daughter a lollipop! They have a life time fan in her now :)

    Nice that there is a USB plug at every seat now, though small criticism, pity it isn't 10cm higher on the back of the chair, so it would be above the closed tray table, rather then hidden behind the tray table. It means you have to have the tray table open to use it and I'd say some people have missed that it is even there.

    A very pleasant service to use overall.

    Will Aircoach be replacing the Plaxtons? I haven't been on them in a while, but I feel they might need to go upmarket a bit to compete with GoBus to Cork anyway.

    I totally agree with what you are saying about competition. Lack of options and competition is never good for customers. Unforutantely it will likely have to come down to government/NTA/competition authority to create policy/legal framework if they can to allow for such competition. Citylink aren't just going to give up their license and leave an opening for a competitor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭belfast stephen

    the EX range replaced the TX range in the Vanhool range i suspect the EX were the first used on CIE tours work so now they move them on the Citylink work after so many years on tours think its 3 years also them 9900 on the cork route are not owned by go bus but by Barrys coaches also Go bus have a couple of 9900's in there fleet

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

    No - that's not correct.

    The recently launched T range has replaced the TX Range, the EX range has been around since 2015 and unlike the rest of the Vanhool family, the EX are built in Macedonia to save on costs and the range is primarily aimed at the lower to mid-range segment of the coach market.

    The Belgian built TDX continues to be top of the Vanhool coach range (probably will see it get reworked at some point soon I'd imagine) followed by the new T Series which is also built in Belgium, (replacing the TX) with the Macedonian built EX being beneath that.

    See article from 2015 here about the launch of the EX series:

    And article here about the launch of the T series replacing the TX series

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

    GoBus have now announced a further 4 services to launch in April.

    • 05:00 and 06:00 from Galway.
    • 07:45 and 09:45 from Dublin Airport

    GoBus and Citylink still continue to hold their own licenses as different operators despite the fact they now operate out of the same headquarters and accept each others tickets. Still no sign of any competitor on the Dublin to Galway non stop, probably because of this.

    GoBus/CityLink are now operating up to 5 buses an hour between Galway and Dublin between all of their routes. It would not surprise me at all if they had the whole corridor to themselves in the future. Their position grows stronger and stronger all the time to the point that even if another operator did get a license on non stop now, it would be very hard to make a business case.

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭Jackben75

    out of interest, do these buses let you on half passed? contemplating doing a Galway to Dublin midnight run due to no accommodation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 Avid

    Changes coming.

    Post edited by Avid on

  • Registered Users Posts: 157 ✭✭DUBLINBUSGUY

  • Registered Users Posts: 194 ✭✭ULEZ23

    So gobus website is now dead and diverts to citylink.

    Am I correct in saying this charade of operating two seperate brands is so they get to keep the two non stop licences? If so does this latest move of merging websites expose this as a lie?

    crazy that the competition authority approved this.

    • Galway to Dublin airport return is €32 (this is the usual one via Dublin City not the dear one direct nor the multi stop one that takes 4hrs).

    • Cork to Dublin airport return is €29 via aircoach

    • The above despite Dublin to cork being 50ks longer.

    and before anyone mentions the aircoach 706 as real competition, it isn’t as it’s extra stops in maynooth, athlone and Balinasloe means a much longer journey

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

    I don't think the competition authority required them to keep separate brands or anything like that. It was take over and they authorized it. I assume Citylink only kept the GoBus website and brand around for a while to help transition it to Citylink, they used a new livery that included both companies for a while to do this. Makes sense GoBus did the same when they moved from the GoBE brand in Cork.

    I would assume that the Competition Authority believe cars and the train are competition enough for the route. And unfortunately there is precedent for that with Dublin Coach on the Limerick route being the only operator (yes I know Eir Eagle to the airport).

    Not that I'd agree, I prefer to see two real operators competing on all the mains routes, like there is to Cork and Belfast.