Dublin Bus raises concerns over passengers being left behind on night routes due to capacity issues

Company warned of ‘ongoing antisocial behaviour and frustration’ due to demand

Dublin Bus has written to the National Transport Authority (NTA) saying the lack of taxis is causing a “huge demand” on its services and is leading to antisocial behaviour and passengers being left behind.

In a letter to the authority in November seeking extra capacity, Dublin Bus said it was “effectively the only public transport operator” available to people late at night and early morning, “especially over the weekends”.

“This is leading to ongoing antisocial behaviour and frustration due to the large demand, and we are leaving customers behind,” the company said.

“We are all aware of the pressures resulting from driver shortages, however it is our view that this issue must be addressed immediately to avoid serious safety issues over the coming weeks.


“This weekend saw serious overcrowding and many instances of customers left behind and we expect this trend to continue for the coming weeks,” it said.

The correspondence was released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

A spokesman for the company told The Irish Times it regularly engages with the NTA on “all operational matters under the terms of our direct award contract” and highlighted an increase in customer demand as part of that process.

The NTA said it had approved a number of overnight additional capacity services to alleviate capacity issues including those flagged by Dublin Bus for the Christmas period.

“While driver availability issues have not yet been fully resolved the situation has improved significantly in recent weeks and is projected to continue to improve in the coming months,” a spokesman for the NTA said.

“NTA will continue to monitor loading across the network, including overnight and will provide additional capacity where demand warrants and resources allow.”

Non-EU bus drivers were recently permitted to work in the State to help tackle the recruitment crisis in the sector.

A quota of 1,500 employment permits for bus and coach drivers was established by the Department of Enterprise, with the changes coming into effect from mid-December.

Dublin Bus and private operator Go-Ahead told the Oireachtas transport committee in recent months that recruitment difficulties were leading to cancelled services and excessive delays and apologised for the poor quality of bus services in the capital.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times