Go-Ahead Dublin and the National Transport Authority have today signed the contract relating to the operation of 24 Public Service Obligation (PSO) bus routes in the Dublin metropolitan area.

Go-Ahead Dublin is expected to begin operating some of these routes by the middle of October 2018 and all routes by the end of January 2019

Go-Ahead Dublin was last year selected as preferred bidder under a competitive public procurement process. Under this process the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (the “MEAT” tender) is identified through detailed assessment which includes a weighted score for price and quality.

The value of the contract is €172 million over 5 years. This includes full mobilisation costs and the provision of depot facilities.

Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority Anne Graham said:

“This is ultimately about improving bus services for Dublin and NTA is confident that passengers will benefit from this decision.

“We believe that with Go-Ahead Dublin as an operator there will be a fresh dimension to the way that services are offered. Introducing new providers encourages everybody to focus on their customers’ needs and it encourages innovation and improvements to service quality.

“It has also been the experience internationally that introducing some level of competitive tendering into PSO services like this, usually results in a better deal for passengers and for the public in general.

“Under the provisions of the tender, not only will service levels on the routes in question be maintained, they will actually be increased by about 35%.

“Passengers in areas served by these routes have absolutely no reason to worry about this change. Matters such as fares, frequency and scheduling for the service will all be set by the NTA, and not the operator. There will be no changes to ticketing, and the services will accept payment by Leap and the Free Travel Pass.

At the official signing was Ed Wills, Managing Director of Go-Ahead Dublin, commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded this new contract by the NTA and are looking forward to rolling out the new fleet of buses and drivers, commencing Autumn 2018. Go-Ahead is passionate about putting customers first and signing our first contract in Ireland is something we are very proud of.”

Go-Ahead is an experienced transport operator with operations primarily in the UK. The company is one of the largest bus operators in London and is recognised as one of the most successful consistently achieving high scores in customer service surveys by TfL.

Go-Ahead was established in the late 1980s in North East England with the privatisation of the National Bus Company. It grew through the acquisition of a number of bus companies and expanded into the rail market in the 1990s.

The company’s three core divisions are: Regional UK bus services, accounting for 7% of the UK market; Go-Ahead London services operated on behalf of Transport for London; and Rail.

The contract is modelled on the arrangement that has been in place for years for Luas. Luas is owned by the state and run by Transdev. These routes will be owned by the state and run by Go-Ahead Dublin.