Laois and Offaly Rural Bus Services: Deadline Looms for Submissions says MEP Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins, MEP for the Midlands has today reminded interested parties that Fridayis the deadline for making submissions to the National Transport Authority regarding the future of bus services in Laois and Offaly.


Speaking in Strasbourg, MEP Higgins who is Ireland’s representative on the European Parliament’s Transport Committee said “What the National Transport Authority proposed last month was completely unsatisfactory. In Laois and Offaly, they propose no tendering process for the period 2014-19, meaning that Bus Eireann continues to run a monopoly, which is subsidised by the taxpayer for at least another 5 years. Private bus operators should at least be given a chance to come up with a tender.”


Jim Higgins last month met with the EU’s competition chief, Joaquin Almunia, who is investigating the lack of competition in the Irish bus market, and the subsidies dished out year after year, without question. “The report into the inadequacies is due by the year’s end. I understand it will call for a change to the current regime, in order to comply with EU competition law, and yet what the NTA are proposing in the 2014-19 contracts is no change for Laois and Offaly at all,” said MEP Higgins.


The Fine Gael MEP is finalizing his submission to the NTA at the moment but says “I will be recommending and submitting to the NTA, that all of the PSO (Bus Eireann) routes be put out to tender in counties Laois and Offaly. The amounts given in subsidies to Bus Eireann in Laois and Offaly continue to remain shrouded in secrecy – I want to see an open tendering process, which provides the best possible value to the taxpayer, who provides the subsidy for these routes. If Bus Eireann is the best operator, then so be it – but let it be on a level playing field, where a private operator can throw his hat in the ring.”


“Let me re-iterate again, I have nothing against Bus Eireann or subsidies, but what I want to see is an efficient and transparent use of taxpayers’ money where subsidies are concerned” added Midlands MEP Jim Higgins.


·         Written submissions and observations by those with an interest in the bus service of Laois and Offaly and it’s future may be made via the or by post to Bus Contracts, National Transport Authority, Dún Scéine, Iveagh Court, Harcourt Lane, Dublin 2.


·         All submissions must include the full name and address of the person making the submission and where relevant the name of the body or organization represented. All submissions and observations received within the timeframe set out will be taken into consideration. The closing date for all submissions is Friday 11th October 2013 at 5.00pm.

Full direct link to consultation


Bus Eireann operates the following routes in Laois / Offaly – Bus Eireann refuse to say how much subvention they receive on each route.



Timetable No. Route
73 Waterford – Athlone – Longford
124 Dublin – Portlaoise


Portlaoise – Urlingford – Cashel



72 Tralee – Limerick – Birr – Athlone,
73 Waterford – Athlone – Longford
120 Dublin – Clane – Prosperous – Edenderry – Tullamore and return
323 Limerick – Killaloe – Newport – Nenagh – Borrisokane – Birr and return

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