Had a day trip to Derry back in February, utilising the €8.99 BE on-line offer. Ironically, shortly after, it was announced that the Dubin - Derry route was closing from May. Ulster Bus also operate the route, and for some reason, their buses seemed fuller. Note sure if they have better times, but I imagine they'll plug any gaps left by BE.
There were about 15 people on board and everyone else paid the full cash fare to the driver. So other than us, no one on that bus on that day had been attracted by BEs marketing. Not one of the other passengers that were travelling either knew of the offer, or was sufficiently motivated by it, or perhaps could not avail of it because they were not travelling the full route.
We had a 20 minute drivers rest stop in Monaghan bus station. It felt like going back in time 20-30 years arriving there. Yet the NI bus stations we went through later were modern and up-to-date.
The current drivers are caught up in an unfortunate situation. They have a relatively well paid job and pension that probably bears little resemblance to the net income derived from the service they provide and probably don't have to live in Dublin. They probably don't have the hassle of many passengers to carry and drive nice new buses.
As a country, we shouldn't be spending a fortune subsidising a service network for a handful of passengers - there are cheaper ways of ferrying them about. Perhaps some private sector innovation is what is required here - mimic Ryanair, using the internet to market and sell tickets to fill the buses up at prices people are prepared to pay. If after a trial period, a route can't pay its way then axe it. Another provider might be able to operate the same route profitably simply because it's paying market rates for its drivers.
Last edited by Eddie : 29-03-2017 at 23:13.