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New National Network of Private Hire Services

 Further information document:

March 5th 2015

National Network of Private Hire Services:

FOTO stands for the Federation of Transport Operators and was set up in 1989. Its first Chief Executive was Martin Cullen the former Minister for Transport. John Dunne took it over in 1993. John Dunne has worked with Bus & Coach operators for over 40 years managing the insurance contracts for their buses and coaches, the last 20 years the dual role of representing their interests on a range of fronts; School Transport issues, Fuel/Diesel Rebates, VRT and taxation, access to Bus Lanes, Bus Parking in our cities, Route Licensing, Driver Training, Age discrimination matters and various reports and submissions to Government Departments and Government itself. FOTO has over 1,100 Associate Members. Ibus plc is the business arm of FOTO founded in 2008. The initial shareholders, over 250, in ibus plc had their investment fully returned in 2013, as the prospect of any role for the ibus concepts or its Irish Private Bus & Coach operator shareholders for a National Network of Private Hire Services or to bid for the School Transport Scheme contract seemed distant. Recent developments show that both of these situations have changed and the bus and coach operators are prepared to re- invest.

  • The National Network of Private Hire Services is proposed by ibus plc. It will include the private bus and coach owners operating 6,250 routes every day in the School Transport Scheme who know rural Ireland better than anyone else and probably know everyone in it as well!
  • The main aim is to provide a national network of passenger services along our Motorways. The routes will all converge at 3 Hubs or Termini in the Greater Dublin Area. Mini- Hubs at key points along the Motorways where the private operator links into the network from every city, town and village in Ireland will utilise the network. For instance the M7, M8 and M9 all converge at Naas where one of the proposed Hubs will be. Private operators will bring their passengers to their own Mini-Hub in Cork, Limerick or Waterford and strategic points along these motorways to join up with the main Network. The Network can be serviced by other private operators, state operators and ibus. A separate fleet of buses at the main Hubs, 8 seats to 200 seats will bring the passenger from the Naas Hub to where they want to go be it any of the Hospitals, Universities, Shopping Streets/Centres, Airport/Ports, Events or to one of the other 2 Hubs in the Greater Dublin Area to go to any other city/town or village in Ireland.
  • It is expected that further individual private hire services to the hubs will develop.
  • All of the Hubs will become Park & Ride centres with the major Hubs having parking for up to 1,000 private cars. The major Hubs will also have rest rooms for drivers, washes and emergency repair facilities for buses and coaches, restaurants, shops and recreational areas.
  • The Hubs will allow the larger coaches, both private and publicly owned, presently entering the cities to use the Hubs both to drop off and collect passengers in greater numbers.
  • Detailed costs and incomes are prepared by the ibus plc accountants with oversight from Dr Charles Larkin of The Economics Department of Trinity College.
  • The overall operation of the Hubs and the income generated from these allow for the service to be practically door to door and personal through a profit share arrangement with the operators. They do not include or are dependent upon any “Free Travel” or Public Service Obligation” subventions. Neither do they include the integration of the Rural Transport Services or the Schools Transport Contract both of which ibus will seek to have included if and when Government allow these to be tendered for.
  • The licences for the routes must reflect customer demand and not some Public Service Obligation notion that insists we run buses empty when there is obviously no need for the service. Ibus will need agreement in principle and certain guarantees before it enters the design and build stage of the 3 Hubs in the Greater Dublin Area.

John Dunne

ibus plc.


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