Cork's 24-hour bus service helps Bus Éireann achieve record passenger numbers

Cork's 24-hour bus service helps Bus Éireann achieve record passenger numbers
Champion Race Walker Rob Heffernan launching Ireland's first 24-hour bus service in Cork. The 220 between Carrigaline and Ballincollig saw a 70% increase in passenger numbers. Pic Darragh Kane

Bus Éireann has had a milestone 2019 which has seen the highest passenger numbers in a decade, as well as the introduction of Ireland’s first 24-hour service in Cork.

In January, Bus Éireann introduced the 24-hour City service, serving Ballincollig, Cork, and Carrigaline. Passenger numbers have increased by over 70% since its introduction.

The company introduced a range of new fleet and service improvements during the year. This included 100 new vehicles nationwide for Bus Éireann's Public Service Obligation (PSO) network along with 50 new state-of-the-art Expressway vehicles set to come on stream in 2020.

Earlier this month a new ticketing software was also introduced, which is expected to lead to reduced boarding times and improved punctuality.

The company has seen the highest passenger numbers in a decade this year, with customer journeys expected to increase by over 15% to over 88 million customer journeys, an increase of over 5 million compared to 2018.

Earlier in the year, an enhanced town network in Drogheda was also introduced, which has seen a 136% increase in frequency between Drogheda, Laytown and Bettystown, while there has also been record-breaking customer journeys on the Waterford city network in 2019 where demand has increased by 72%.

In early December the company signed a new five-year direct award contract with the National Transport Authority (NTA), which will ensure an investment of over €800 million over the next five years.

Chief Executive Stephen Kent said: “In 2019, we built on the critical foundations of customer focus and financial sustainability to deliver on the vision contained within our five-year plan.

“With the support of the National Transport Authority, major investments were made in fleet, and the improved frequency and reliability provided in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford are all generating the strongest public transport usage we have seen in over a decade,” he added.

“It is a tribute to our staff that we have been successful in implementing one of the most ambitious business transformation programmes ever undertaken by a State company. We are delighted that our passenger numbers are the strongest we have seen since 2008 and we look forward to continuing to maintain this momentum of growth by improving the fleet and our services in 2020 and beyond,” Mr Kent concluded.

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