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Unread 31-12-2006, 14:59   #1
Nigel Fitzgricer
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Default Endgame CIE?

Story in todays Sunday Bussiness Post says it all really. CIE is a company in serious trouble due in some part to restrictions placed upon it by public services remits and terrible Government planning. CIE deserve sympathy for this as they did not make the planning mess.

However...

...on the other hand the sheer inability of this stagnated behemot's management and unions to deal with a rapidly changing Ireland is the usual rot within.

CIE has failed to make the link between the downgrading of railfreight and traffic congestion in urban areas affecting its commuter bus operations. But once again, isn't this a classic case of typical CIE mentality of not even begining to grasp how various sectors of their business can aid other sectors.

For me the most damming aspect of the report is that IE have only improved their rail service due to capital investment and nothing else. Same old, same old...

My prediction for 2007 and beyond will see the start of a dramatic drop in IE's Inter-City rail passengers numbers due to the improving motorway and private bus market. The current warnings signs from BE, should be throwing up red flags in Amiens Street if they have any sense.

CIE tradition, inflexibility and stagnation was always going to be biggest danger to CIE. 60 years later and the chickens have come home to roost in the form of their own property portfolio development, Luas/Metro, Private Inter-City buses and Motorways

CIE's insane approach to railfreight is also playing a significant role I beleive, in undermining their effeciency of their bus sector. They never could come to grasps with integration and internal co-operation stuff. Now it's too late and they only have themselves to blame.

Personally I beleive that CIE and its bus and rail services should get massive capital investment and Government support with statutory objectives being placed on local authorities to make public transport work better for providers and customers...BUT ONLY...if the CIE companies show real customer service and operational flexibility/creativity and the NBRU behave themselves.

CIE should not get public money just for being CIE.

Them days have to end.

Happy New Year - (sorry for the superficial over use of bold text etc, but I wanted my last post of 2006 to have a bit of flair)

Quote:
Bus Eireann hit by private operators

31 December 2006 By Niamh Connolly

Minister for Transport Martin Cullen and CIE have been advised to review non-commercial transport services to meet growing competition from the private sector.

Minister for Transport Martin Cullen and CIE have been advised to review non-commercial transport services to meet growing competition from the private sector.

A confidential report by consultants Booze Allen Hamilton warned that some Bus Eireann services were being undermined by private coach competition and should be reclassified as subsidised routes.

The review of the CIE Group subvention, commissioned by the Department of Transport, warned that private coaches operating on new motorway routes had made serious in roads into Bus Eireann’s customer base.

‘‘Some Bus Eireann services have become less attractive, lost patronage and may need to be reclassified as PSO [public service obligation] services in future’’, according to the report.

The consultants advised: ‘‘It will be necessary for the company to discuss with the Department of Transport ways of maintaining current levels of social services, assess the level of PSO funding required . . . and review the relationship between the commercial and non-commercial sides of the business.

Bus Eireann moved from a deficit of €8 million in 2001 to a surplus of €1.2 million in 2005, but its finances are expected to show a deterioration for 2006. Industry sources believe Bus Eireann is facing a deficit - or, at best, a breakeven situation - due to rising operational costs, including national wage agreements and competition from private coach operators.

Cullen granted CIE a fare increase of 2.78 per cent for 2007 - far short of the average 9 per cent sought across all CIE companies. The consultants advised that the annual state subvention should be formally linked to increasing services and rising passenger numbers. This would encourage CIE to increase its use of spare capacity, such as off-peak or lightly-used services.

Bus Eireann has traditionally used commercial routes to subsidise loss-making routes.

But its customer base is under pressure from private coach operators which are ‘‘granted licences for routes which bypass towns which Bus Eireann are required to serve’’.

New business from commuters in areas such as Meath, Wicklow, Kildare and Louth, together with last year’s fares hike, increased Bus Eireann’s passenger numbers by 10 per cent and revenues by 19 per cent. But its operating costs rose by 16 per cent between 2001 and 2005.

Traffic conditions have deteriorated due to congestion and driver numbers have been increased to meet the requirements of a 46-hour working week. The absence of bus lanes outside the Dublin area is also proving a problem for the company, which services the country’s larger cities.

Iarnrod Eireann benefited from Department of Transport support in relation to long-term planning and publication of the strategic rail review this year, according to the consultants.

But the rail company ‘‘is still managing a network which is capacity constrained’’.

The company delivered improvements in peak-hour capacity and it is becoming more efficient. ‘‘While this is good news, it must be recognised that capital investment has played a large part in this improvement . . . the most significant challenge will be controlling costs while consistently improving customer service and managing all capital investment schemes. Network bottlenecks will also need to be addressed,” said the report.

The report said Dublin Bus costs should be monitored and efficiencies sought. Passenger numbers grew from 143 million in 2001 to 149 million in 2003, but dropped to 146 million following the introduction of Luas last year.

The number of passengers using the Luas rose from 22 million last year to 26 million in 2006, an increase of approximately 17 per cent. Capacity on the Red Line is to be increased by 40 per cent on a phased basis from May.

Operating costs at Dublin Bus increased by 10 per cent in 2005, which the report described as ‘‘modest’’, since payroll costs rose by 13 per cent.

The most urgent concern for Dublin Bus was fleet renewal and rising competition. ‘‘There is a concern as to whether Dublin Bus is accumulating sufficient funds for its future needs,” added the report.

The consultants believe that all three companies ‘‘have performed well overall’’, but said that independent surveys of journey times should be undertaken and regular customer satisfaction surveys should become part of the auditing process.
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Last edited by Nigel Fitzgricer : 31-12-2006 at 15:11. Reason: Crimbo Spelling Errors
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Unread 08-01-2007, 19:34   #2
dowlingm
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Don't worry about it. Aircoach will be told to pay a community rating charge like BUPA! No fear for CIE!
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