Crisis at Bus Eireann

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by robertclark125, 11 Feb 2017.

  1. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    Spreading this to Dublin Bus, I cannot help but wondering if both BE and DB need to look at whether some smaller, or perhaps not very busy routes, could be worked by things like an Optare Solo, or an E200. Certainly, tough negotiations with unions would be required. The plans for the remote end of the Dublin 84 group in 1988 came to nought. And the issues over the 120 to Cabra in 1993 led to a city wide strike. But, both firms need to look at how they can reduce the need for the public purse.
     
  2. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    The trouble often with Dublin Bus is timetables take a good while to change, because when management propose a new timetable, after it is approved by the regulator, the working schedule (usually called a bill) then goes to a vote to the unions, and this can make a timetable change take a few months to process.

    With regards to vehicles, there is also a Union Vehicle Design Committee, following a delivery of a vehicle, a new type of vehicle, or the order for a new vehicle type, or changes to a spec, it will need to be fully inspected by representatives of both the main unions before it can go into service, this is normally made up of union reps from all the garages.

    The way buses have been acquired in the last 5 years or so has very much changed, previously to 2012 they used to be purchased by Dublin Bus either from their own funds or be working into the subsidy that they were given to operate the services. However the issue with such arrangement was that vehicle design was very conservative and stuck in the past, so to speak.

    Even up until 2009, Dublin Bus still specified vehicles with bench seating, non painted handrails, No Wifi, one door, no stop announcements, no intergrated ticketing, no real time information, no information screens. Essentially the on bus environment had not changed one bit since the days of the Olympians, even if the newer buses were low floor, they were built to a very similar spec.

    Essentially the regulator from 2012 said that they would no longer fund such vehicles and required a modernization of the on bus environment. As part of this the vehicles are now purchased by the regulator from it's own funds and are leased free of charge to Dublin Bus. This gave the regulator more power to dictate spec, and integrated ticketing, real time info, audio/visual stop information, individual seating, wifi, on board monitors, Full side LED displays and double doors.

    However there is some controversy about this as far as the unions are concerned because the unions believe that Dublin Bus should be able to specify it's own vehicles and given it's own funding to buy what they want. However the regulator has the approach that if they are going to invest significant amount of taxpayers money into the company, they should have a say on how that money is spent.

    There is some talk of some Streetlites being delivered to Dublin Bus later this year, however that is not confirmed and is very much a rumour at the moment. Over the last few years Bus Eireann have took delivery of a number of Wright double deckers, Mercedes Citaro single deckers and Wright Single deckers, all government funded.
     
  3. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    when you look back in the 1990s, in Dublin, at the City Swift and City Imp concepts, both were successful. However, both were also controversial in their implementation. The conversion of the 39 to City Swift had a few false starts, and I believe caused a strike at Phibsborough garage. The city imp idea got off to a good start on the 83. I think the issue affecting the 20A going to City imp as 120 was, unlike the 83, which had been a dying route, patronage was falling, the 20A was a growing route.

    It has to be said though, there are a few diagrams at Dublin Bus that could easily be worked by single deckers. However, they have recently tried a smaller bus on a demonstration basis.

    Bus Eireann only dabbled in the minibus concept, particularly Limerick. Maybe a rethink is needed. Some routes, which in CIE days were KR class operated, perhaps could now be worked by minibuses.
     
  4. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    The imps on some routes were also a victim of their own success.

    For example the WVs lived on far far too long on some routes, like the 123.
     
  5. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    You mention the 123, Marino - Drimnagh. It went from 25 seater 709Ds to 32 seat 811Ds, then the B6LEs in 2000. It may be though that some smaller routes could use single deckers, as opposed to double deckers.

    I have to admit, I just wonder if this dispute at Bus Eireann could bring into question the whole future of CIE.
     
  6. daodao

    daodao Member

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    That is incredible, in a city of over 1 million with massive traffic congestion. There is only a case for subsidising bus services in rural areas, in both the UK and Eire.
     
  7. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    I'm not sure how "massive traffic congestion" means that nothing should be subsidised. The Irish don't always have to copy what the British do, i.e. give up on the bus as a tool to cut congestion. How about using public money to cut that traffic congestion by investing into local transport like they do in most of Europe?

    The good news is that money is actually available but the problem is that Dublin Bus are wasting it due to inefficiency. Implement competitive tendering to cut costs with rewards/sanctions for good/bad performance. Put the cash saved into better reliability, better integration with other modes, better bus priority, better cycling etc. and follow European best practice.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    There is in my view a case for subsidising in towns as well - but not if all that gets you is what Stagey or First will do you commercially.
     
  9. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    As we know, without reducing bus running times, the only ways to reduce costs are reducing driver pay or increasing hours, and fuel consumption. What this means is that Dublin actually needs to spend on bus lanes/priority junctions etc before they will get the savings. Personally, I am not convinced that privatisation and competition is a necessity, even if (repeatedly) it has been used as a tool to manage pay!
     
    Last edited: 15 Feb 2017
  10. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    The first operator was Circle Line - there was a court case in relation to alleged unfair competition from Dublin Bus flooding the corridor with taxpayer buses in front and behind them to weed them out I believe that this was settled before it went to the courts so we will never know what really happened and if this was true or not though.

    The one existing right now is Swords Express which continues to grow year on year and now is a pretty large operation. However they had a rough start to life, with lots of allegations of unfair practice, legal action by management, taking the Department of Transport to Court, Judicial Reviews and a number of other things.

    Essentially, it was these things which led to a regulator being formed in the first place, until then it was very much hands off regulation by the department of transport, who itself was prone to strong political interference, at the time, so an independent regulator was set-up, to try and overcome these kind of issues and be an independent/passenger voice.

    The only other commercial services in Dublin are those that serve airports, and they are restricted to transfer people to or from airports only, they cannot transfer people to intermediate stops. All journeys have to end or start at the airport or the operator will be in breach of their license and will get it revoked.


    Dwell times are a massive problem on Dublin Bus. A 60 minute journey can involve up to 15-20 minutes dwell time, if you solved this instantly you can bring

    This is due to the complicated fare system and drivers refusal to use multiple doors when provided on the bus, the former of which is due to issues between the companies at the regulator, the later of which is a union thing.

    This is what the regulator is attempting to do. However the unions will not accept it and are trying to do a lot to circumvent it or make the tendering system as such that it will not be attractive to both the government and any potential commercial operators, such as for example they want assurances that staff in the commercial companies tendering will be paid same rate as them and will have to build their own depots.

    There are also lots of scare stories being spread like, if private companies win tenders they will only run during peak times like the UK, they won't take free bus passes, they will refuse to run in rural areas, they will charge higher fares and will run vehicles which are too small for purpose and that people will be stranded and will no longer have a bus service.

    The thing is, the model that has been proposed is that the regulator sets timetables, fares, running times, standards of service, what bus passes are accepted and the winning tenderer does not have a say in this. However the unions are trying to portray something totally different to the public, and saying it will be like the UK and pointing to something closer to full de-reg.;

    The most recent example of spin from the union side is claim that the regulator is "fining" public operators when they are on strike or do not run services. This is not happening, what is happening is that the company is not paid any subsidy for journeys or days where the company does not operate.

    This has resorted in the regulator coming out saying that they will not allow themselves to be pushed into a position where they are being forced to discharge their duties with fear or favour.
     
    Last edited: 15 Feb 2017
  11. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    There has been a lot of work on this (but more needs to be done) the big issues right now slowing down efficiency are dwell times, fare systems and the lack of use of middle doors, which could really bring down costs a huge amount but I don't ever see that happening.

    They won't be increasing hours - the problem with the pay is not so much core pay, more the way that a large number of drivers are contracted for a standard working week, which is not actually connected to the work that is actually done by the staff, which causes the company considerable expense since the excess is paid at overtime rates every week for the whole year for a large number of employees.

    You could say that an easy way around that is to offer drivers higher basic pay for the extra hours, but the unions are never going to allow that because of the fact it would reduce their members earning potential despite the fact it would give them a little bit more security, premiums and overtime and allowances make up a significant proportion of a lot of staffs wages.

    This is why BE have offered staff a pay-rise of several percent over the next few years in exchange for cuts to premiums, allowances and overtime. The sheer amount of money they are spending on these things is massive, and is the same reason why the unions are making such a fuss, Even though there core pay is not being effected.
     
  12. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sounds like the Forum favourite Gatwick Express! :lol:

    When I used Dublin Bus it was less the complexity of the fare and more that they were exact change only! So the four of us ended up scrabbling around trying to put together the right coins for our fares rather than handing over one note to pay for all four of us with a little bit of change due back. What should have taken twenty seconds took a minute or two.
     
  13. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Essentially it's a marketing tactic, to make a service sound better than it actually is, they missed the boat on a lot of intercity services and in the absence of being able to rival the competition on frequency or journey times, they instead have spent a huge amount of money on marketing and new vehicles to try and sell the service as being better than it actually is.

    There is also a debate within an industry how a company such as BE can spend close to €10m a year on vehicles for it's commercial services and several million on advertising at a time when it is losing money hand over fist when most of the services are struggling in the wake of competition and are not being run in a commercially viable way.

    It is still like that, however the regulator has reduced the number of fare bands by over 50% over the past few years. There are now three main adult fare bands, whereas at one point there were six and some route specific fares and outer suburban fares. Route specific fares have been scrapped and outer suburban fares have been merged into the highest standard fare band.

    However Dublin Bus in particular is anxious that there is no large changes to fares in one big bang and wants a phased changing of the fare system over a number of years, because they are worried the impact that this could have on farebox revenue and could cause them financial distress and the regulator is not very keen on saying they will cover everything the company loses because that means the company has no incentive to run a bus service efficiently.

    I used to get the bus every day for a while in Dublin city centre and you could be waiting a couple of minutes for everyone to get off, and 3-4 minutes for everyone to get on and interact with the driver on busy stops. On the number 4/7 route it could take 20 minutes from O'Connell Street to Merrion Square and well over 10 minutes of that would be dwell time. At one point artics were on that route, but they too only used one door, so whilst the idea of putting them on there was excellent, unfortunately the execution was a joke.
     
    Last edited: 15 Feb 2017
  14. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Railworkers may now get dragged into this:
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0215/852860-bus-eireann/

     
    Last edited: 15 Feb 2017
  15. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Strike called off to allow for further talks:
    https://twitter.com/DermotLeary/status/831962377901977600

    The statement from the Unions is a clear reference to trying to get the government involved in this to increase funding and/or change the regulatory environment in favour of Expressway over other commercial operators.

    The government is facing a motion of no confidence tonight, the unions would very much like to see the government ousted and replaced with more union friendly parties so I would expect they will try and use this to their advantage.
     
    Last edited: 15 Feb 2017
  16. DT611

    DT611 Member

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    sorry for the following long post, but i want to clear up some things. I will say that i have no affiliation to any transport organisation.

    it isn't simply expressway that is at risk but the whole company. If the whole company goes insolvent then rural ireland will be effected until such time as replacements are found, which will take quite some time. It might also require an increase in subsidy to attract those replacements, which it will be a case of whether government wishes to pay up. the fear over rural bus services is based on potentially factual realities that may or may not come to fruition, lets hope they don't come to fruition.
    The regulator are known for criticising "calling out" and blaming all and sundry, all the while not giving a stuff about for example, rail users, for which they are as far from a passenger voice as it gets. In truth those users have no voice and never will sadly. Playing the victim and blaming everyone else for their shortcomings is the regulators thing, it is what they are good at.
    in relation to Using smaller busses, that was done, however the routes grew which required double-decks to be put back on. It is also found to be easier to operate a single standard fleet so that busses can be transferred between routes, meaning capacity can be increased quickly if needs be. this would mostly be apt in terms of rural routes, where rather then having a mixed fleet of small busses and coaches, which are stuck to speciffic routes, a standard coach fleet is preferred. for example a bus could run a rural route in the morning, but head to dublin later in the day. It could be the case that a mixed fleet might be better, but i can certainly see the advantages of a standard fleet.
    Many city bus services in ireland don't have enough patronage to be left to operate commercially, but provide benefits to the economy as a whole hence are subsidized for social good.
    In relation to the double door issue in dublin bus, drivers aren't refusing to use double doors. they cannot use them because the stops are not set up for their safe operation and there are no plans to make them safe.
    In relation to the tendering, the unions aren't making anything difficult there, they are simply concerned about potential downgrades in terms and conditions and want those issues dealt with before tendering takes place. from what i hear there is very little interest from operators anyway, and it's nothing to do with the unions, but the subsidy and other issues. the unions did suggest that privates only running at peak times, refusing passes, running small vehicles, charging higher fares, all may be an issue, but that was before the model that would be followed became known, because it was believed by all that de-regulation would be the model that was going to be followed, and it took a long time before the truth actually came out. Once it did the unions excepted what was said and back-tracked. the unions have claimed that companies don't get paid when they don't run services, which is the truth. the fact that happens is fare and correct by the way. What we have in ireland isn't perfect and never will be, but it won't be improved by privatization/tendering but by the regulator actually regulating and penalising for failure.
     
  17. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Of course, since whilst the company has two separate branches, all staff work for the one company and resources are shared between both branches, apart from the fact state assets cannot be used on commercial services because this would be considered as highly illegal state aid.

    A way of avoiding this is to splitting the company down the middle and making both arms totally separate, however the unions would never accept that as it would mean that those working on Expressway would need their terms and conditions adjusted to be in line with market norms.

    The non Expressway services had a large increase in funding last year and are not losing money and the performance is in line with expectations. The Expressway services are losing money so are the cause of this issue, because it is the performance of those services which is dragging the whole company down, because of mismanagement of the company by management over a number of years.

    "Potential Factual Realities" is this like Donald Trumps "Alternative Facts" I have to give you credit, you really made me laugh at that which is quite a task at this time of the night. What you say could be true, but a private who has a lower cost base with smaller, lower cost vehicles, more local to the routes could do it for less as well, not saying they will but it's possible.

    When BE have withdrawn commercial services in the past the regulator has tendered services to cover for them which have been up and running as quickly as possible as it is to complete a tender and all of which have been drawn up to connect with other methods of public transport.
    .
    The problem with the rail contract is that it wasn't one which was drawn up by the regulator, it was drawn up before their time by politicians over a long period of many months and pretty much the regulator were only established right at the end of the procedure, a short time before the contract had to be signed or there would be no contract at all for rail services.

    The current Bus Eireann, Luas and Dublin Bus contracts were all new contracts which were created from scratch within the last couple of years and the whole process was overseen by the regulator. In 2019 Irish Rail will also be getting such a contract when the existing 10 year one expires, until then the regulator have little power compared to the bus operator, believe me though, that will certainly be changing, unless a soon to be elected FF government prevents it.

    Some services within Ireland don't have enough patronage to operate commercially and of course are going to need to be subsidised, no doubting that, not in the slightest. However at the same time, I also don't buy that every single city bus route in the whole country apart from a handful cannot pay it's way. There are many cities in the UK which have many routes that take far less revenue per bus and far lower load factors that still pay their way commercially, yet Dublin Bus can't find a single route which does?

    This is the excuse which is trotted out over and over again, the argument from the unions is that there is no rule as to what is considered "safe" and they do not put down any criteria of what this is. They simply say that a driver should be able to use his/her discretion as to what is safe. Then you have the current situation where 99% of drivers state that they do not have to give reasons to the company or the regulator why the stop is unsafe since they have a right to use their discretion and they are using the right at every stop to not open the doors.

    I'm very puzzled if the staff do not feel the stops are safe, they are not keen to act how they can be made safer, every time they are asked this question they do not appear to be able to say why they are not safe or what needs to be changed and just keep making unrealistic demands such as "we will use middle doors if we are exempt from any accident for any reason." which no company will ever allow because it promotes grossly negligent behavior in the knowledge that no matter how dangerous they act, they can't be in trouble.

    There are six operators interested, however there were more who dropped out because of the fact that the original ITT was changed somewhat following pressure from unions and the changes meant that the revised ITT made it more unattractive and economically challenging for smaller operators to compete.

    Some of these issues were relating to TUPE, possible disputes and strikes which could happen, issues about government owned facilities and bus stations and depot facilities, the attempt by the NBRU to get staff costs removed from tenders, all of these things which were instigated by the unions.

    The tendering model was published almost two years ago now, even as recently as last week the unions were still distributing leaflets and holding meetings talking about bus passes not being taken, withdrawal of non-peak time services, huge increases to fares and massive timetable cuts. They are trying to scare the public and it's that kind of campaigning I don't like, but I realise that coming out honestly and saying pretty much it's all about money and their terms and conditions and nothing else doesn't make such a great case for public support.

    Nobody has ever talked about de-reg for the last few years, the only people who have been doing so tends to be Sinn Fein, who didn't want to be anywhere near government following the last election under any circumstances and couldn't run fast enough away from the prospect of power, the unions and a lot of the extreme left wing media. It's designed to strike fear into people, during the recent strike debate many people were asked to back-up this so called de-reg wish with some hard proof, and they just kept repeating the same rhetoric without being able to back any of it up.

    However the most amusing thing I have seen in the left wing media and union groups recently is a call for de-reg on routes where Bus Eireann doesn't have a presence right now to allow them a license they otherwise could not get, whilst at the same time keeping the regulated licensing on routes where they already are serving. I don't know if that itself was amusing or the fact they called this "leveling the playing field." that phrase also makes me laugh, because in any industry 99/100 it means totally the opposite.

    But the problem is that what we are seeing and have seen over the last few years is that at the moment the companies/unions see themselves as being more powerful than the regulator and what the regulator is attempting to do is face that down, but considering the holy mess they were left with when they took office and some contracts which were already virtually signed before they took office, they cannot do that straight away.

    The problem right now is there is real fear in the regulator if the companies and the unions do not get what they want, there will be strikes and the whole public transport system will be brought down until the regulator has backed down and that is the biggest issue Ireland has, there is a massive power struggle over who is in charge of transport and it's provision in the state and it's no wonder that public transport is so poor in Ireland when that is going on. Do I blame the companies and unions over this solely though? Certainly not.

    The fact a situation has developed like this has to be laid at the door of politicians who allowed such a unholy mess build over the 90s and into the 00s with no proper regulation and politicians who were asleep at the wheel who despite having more money at any time in history, felt all they had to do with transport is hand over blank cheques to the state companies and everything else would take care of itself and they could just sit back and watch the money roll in because all that nuts and bolts stuff could be done later, since there was plenty of time and the money would never run out and the Celtic Tiger would never die and those who thought it would should go off and commit suicide.
     
    Last edited: 19 Feb 2017
  18. DT611

    DT611 Member

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    Bus eireann terms and conditions are in line with the market, all be it they are at the higher end of the market. a private with a lower cost base with smaller lower cost vehicles would still want to make money from operating the route, so it is very unlikely they would be able to do it for less. Maybe around the same amount of money. the NTA can and do have the power to inforce standards on the contract with the rail operator and refuse to do it. As i said the reason for the lack of double door use on dublin bus services is down to safety concerns, there are no excuses being made, it's an issue and the relevant authorities must do what they need to to make the stops safe and deal with the concerns of drivers. You have been given plenty of explanations by drivers on other websites you frequent as to the issues to why the stops aren't safe for double door operation. The reason for operators dropping out were nothing to do with unions, the unions were only interested in the terms and conditions of their members and the NTA were really only interested in attracting the bigger operators. The terms and conditions for current staff rightly got sorted but that wasn't anything to do with operators dropping out. The unions have not stated anything about passes not been taken, withdrawels of services and timetable cuts since the model the regulator want to persue was finally revealed. The only thing they have mentioned recently is possible fare hikes which lets face it will happen regardless of who operates services. the companies and unions don't see themselves as more powerful then the regulator, and the regulator have simply played the victim and blamed everyone else for their short comings which they have many of, i'm afraid.
     
  19. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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    Contradicting yourself there my friend.

    Compared to the rest of the market BE and DB average take home pay per annum is higher. If you ranked all the operators on pay, they would be right at the very top, but please do not take my word for it.

    Private bus operators pay lower wages than Bus Éireann

    So if that was the case then the unions have nothing to fear from tendering because if it could not be done cheaper, then surely they could win every single tender without any problem, especially when you consider the privates would have start-up costs that BE would not have. Yet still the unions are trying to stop tendering and get staffing costs taken out of the tender

    They have powers but they are very limited and the fines that they can impose and penalties that they can hand out are very weak, because that is what is in the existing public service contract that was designed before their time. You will find from 2019 things will get much tougher when they impose a penalty and target based regime similar to that which is being used on Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann.

    One of the key issues with the current rail contract is performance and reliability data is provided by the operator itself to the regulator and is not subject to open scrutiny or observation by third party, since the contract says that it needs to be this way, there is nothing the regulator can do until the contract has ended and they can change this and believe me they will,

    You are proving my exact point I made in my last post, all rhetoric, nothing to back any of this up, which is typical of the union side in this debate. They continually make claims but when asked to put flesh on the bones, we just keep hearing the same soundbites all of the time. The unions have made no submissions as to what kind of stop would be considered safe and their only remarks on this 'issue' continue to be, they will operate the doors if they are not held liable no matter how grossly negligent they are and that they must always have discretion not to use them

    No, the smaller operators dropped out because of delays caused by the unions and the fact that following changes to the tender relating to staffing, TUPE and the new requirement to build their own depot rather than have some kind of state assistance or subcontract maintenance were scrapped. These changes took place because of union protests about having to possibly share such infrastructure with commercial operators or required transfer of undertakings.

    Such changes would make it vastly harder for a smaller company to accrue the finances needed in up front infrastructure investment to put in a competitive bid, so they decided that they would pull out from the bidding. This was a side effect of what I described above, which put Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann in a better position since they already had such facilities and didn't have to build them and essentially made it harder for smaller operates to compete.

    They were saying it last week at a meeting in Cork and other cities.

    I also bring to attention this leaflet which was handed out last year which is full of the kind of scaremongering I outlined, almost two years after the regulator model was revealed.
    http://dublinbusdrivers.com/wpimages/wp165a7c29_05_06.jpg

    Meanwhile this is some of the arguments that the unions have used in order to slow the process down which has resulted in bidders pulling out, don't worry, I will get you a link about the depots and the maintenance facilities in my next post.
    http://www.dublinbusdrivers.com/wpimages/wpeba43453_05_06.jpg

    So if so, why don't they just do what they are told and continue to have a defiance of authority on a number of occasions where they are not willing to do anything in the greater good of public transport in the country, because they are more worried at how it will hurt them even if the public, of what is supposed to be a public service, benefit.

    The sign of a good regulator in an industry is often that people within key players in an industry are not happy with them and complain about them, because generally if people within in an industry are happy with a regulator it is because they are too light touch and feel they can dictate how things work and the industry themselves.
     
  20. DT611

    DT611 Member

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    Nope my friend.

    I said at the higher end of the market norms, so you aren't arguing against what i stated here.

    Because they want to insure good terms and conditions to attract staff, to grow services. Insuring bench marks that other operators must live up to and insuring tendering cannot be used just to drive down wages to the bottom as per the original plan, with most likely no savings in terms of subsidy but more likely an increase eventually, is a good thing and puts everyone on an equal footing.

    Yeah, sure. They will do as little as they can in 2019 as they do now, i can guarantee it. This is the same numties who want to introduce 10 minute frequencies on infrastructure that can't handle it and ride rough shot over other users after all. They can make changes but they do not wish to. That is a fact. They aren't interested in rail users.

    That is not correct, the regulator can do a lot but are choosing not to.

    I am not proving your point as your point is wrong. You have been told this on other forums you frequent by people who actually drive the busses the reasons why the stops aren't safe for double door operation. You don't have to accept it and don't by all means but you are still incorrect as to the reasoning that such operation isn't happening.

    They dropped out because what the regulator were looking for made bidding unattractive. the regulators actually want the bigger operators only to tender and not small operators. What the unions wanted and got was a guarantee that the CIE companies would not be left at a staff disadvantage by having their staff simply transferred to other operators, even if the staff didn't want to transfer. They wanted to insure staff could make the decisian for themselves. the union was never against the subcontracting out of maintenence to bus eireann and dublin bus, in fact the companies would benefit as it would be income. What the issue from the unions was over, was a fear that other operators would be able to use the facilities yet dublin bus and bus eireann staff would be expected to maintain the busses free of charge. That hasn't come to fruition if it even was a plan, but there must have been something otherwise the unions wouldn't have made it an issue.

    No they weren't. that is not correct.

    well from what i hear only a very small few got it as it was withdrawn from circulation due to those inaccuracies.

    Valid reasons to insure fairness and equality across all operators. Rightly so. Makes the tendering process fair for everybody, which is what we want.

    Nope, A good regulator isn't always one who simply does what it wants and screw whoever it is regulating. a good regulator will listen to all stake holders in relation to an issue and will come up with the best solution. That is good regulation, taking all sides and all potential issues into account, and coming up with a solution that can benefit everyone and which can bring improvements across the board rather then simply riding roughshot over those who they are regulating and not listening to what can be genuine concerns.
     

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