Ryan seeks meeting with Dublin Bus over ‘disappearing’ buses

Dublin Bus says it is engaging with department and NTA about driver recruitment and service reliability

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has written to Dublin Bus expressing concerns about its real-time information services which has led to “frustrations” among the general public.

The Green Party leader said arrival times were appearing on real-time screens at bus stops and were then “suddenly disappearing with no bus arriving”.

In a letter sent to the chief executive of Dublin Bus in early October, which was released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, the Dublin Bay South TD said he was writing on behalf of his constituents who had been in touch regarding issues with the Real-Time Passenger Information (RTPI) for Dublin Bus services.

He said the big concerns were a lack of accurate information from the real-time service and that bus times were appearing on the screen at bus stops and then suddenly disappearing with no bus arriving.


Mr Ryan said there were similar issues with the real-time information on the Dublin Bus app.

“As I am sure you can appreciate this has led to frustrations among the general public, who we are actively trying to encourage to use public transport more often,” he said.

“I am seeking a briefing note on the current status and functionality of RTPI, alongside an overview of the GPS navigation system and any problems it may have processing the information accurately.

“Additionally, I would appreciate a meeting myself and relevant representatives from your office on the matter.”

Andrea Keane, acting chief executive at Dublin Bus, wrote to the minister on October 24th and said it was experiencing challenges with on-street RTPI display units, the Dublin Bus app and Transport for Ireland (TFI) app.

Ms Keane said Dublin Bus has 600 on-street display units and that the reliability of such units had “deteriorated in recent months”.

“This was due to a technical error with the Dublin Bus AVL [automatic vehicle locator] system,” she said. “All of our current testing indicates that this was successfully resolved on September 15th, however, we are continuing to run independent checks on this system.”

Ms Keane also said the Dublin Bus app was “approaching end of life” while the company was facing challenges to recruit drivers.

“The work to improve customer information is being progressed at pace,” Ms Keane said. “However, the recruitment of drivers remains a challenge and current projections indicate it will be the end of Q1 2023 before it has the full compliment of drivers required to operate the expanded network of services.”

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said Mr Ryan is “satisfied” that all available actions are being taken to resolve issues for passengers, and the department will “continue to closely monitor this issue”.

Dublin Bus said it “has and continues to engage” with the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority (NTA) in relation to challenges regarding driver recruitment and service reliability.

The organisation also pointed to its recent appearances before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport in November and December, where it answered questions on the poor quality of bus services in the capital in recent months.

However, the Dublin Commuter Coalition say disappearing buses are “still a problem” for bus users despite Dublin Bus’s fixes.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times