EARLY morning commuters on route 300 between Ennis and Limerick city cannot take advantage of the €5 single fare offered by Dublin Coach because the weekday 7am, 8am, 9am or 10am buses are not allowed to set down or pick up passengers at Arthurs Quay.
Public servant, Joe Duffy, who lives in Ennis and works in Limerick, only discovered this restriction when his car broke down last month.
“My car broke down in January and I needed to use public transport, so I made some enquiries about the times and cost of buses and trains between Ennis and Limerick. The cost of taking the train was €11.35 one-way online and at the station, and I found out that the cost to Limerick by Bus Éireann bus is €9.50 one way, and the Expressway special offer fare is €8 one way. I looked at Dublin Coach which goes from Ennis to Limerick city centre and that’s €5 one way. That was great, but then I found out that you cannot get off the bus at Arthurs Quay from the 7, 8, 9 or 10 o’clock buses – and you cannot get on the bus at Arthurs Quay to go to Ennis at those times either,” Mr Duffy said.
“I was wondering why, and following enquiries I received a response from the National Transport Authority telling me that Dublin Coach is not allowed to compete with the train at those times.
Their response said: “The restrictions apply to mitigate the negative impact that the proposed additional services would have in the vitality of existing services provided by Iarnród Éireann.”
“This annoyed me that the people of Ennis have to pay higher prices for a train and cannot use this perfectly good service by Dublin Coach. What happened to fair and open competition? You can’t get on the bus in Ennis in the morning and get off or on at Arthurs Quay because it interferes with the train – which is overpriced and inefficient.
“I sent an email to the Minister for Transport but he washed his hands of it and said he doesn’t get involved in the day-to-day running of the services. The department referred me to the Competition Authority and they say they are constantly advocating for fair competition between modes of transport and said it was the National Transport Authority who had issued the licence,” he added.
Dublin Coach told Mr Duffy they are restricted in their licence on route 300 and cannot pick up or set down passengers at Arthurs Quay at those particular times and this information is highlighted on their website.