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Swords Express take dispute with transport minister to the High Court

The Swords Express are taking Noel Dempsey to court over the granting of permission for Dublin Bus to use the port tunnel. All a bit odd considering the services so not actually share the same route except for a short stretch in Swords – and even then the services are so differentiated that they serve totally different types of customers.

RTE reports:

A private bus company has begun High Court proceedings against the Minister for Transport over what it says was a decision allowing unfair competition.

Swords Express claims the Dept of Transport allowed Dublin Bus to change its route to compete with the private service.

The private bus company claims it is being put out of business because of the decision, which affects a route from Swords to the city centre using the Port Tunnel.

The company is seeking a judicial review in the High Court in which it will say it cannot compete with a State-subsidised service, and will ask the High Court to quash the decision.

The company will claim the decision to allow Dublin Bus to change its route was irrational and unreasonable and that the public interest was not considered.

It will also say that Dublin Bus and a public representative who lobbied on its behalf were told the application to change the route would be successful before the decision was made.

Frank Callinan SC told the High Court that the matter was of some commercial urgency, as Swords Express was being put out of business.

The case has been adjourned until September.

6 Responses to “Swords Express take dispute with transport minister to the High Court”

  1. Actually, this is hypocrisy on Swords Express’ part. They want the Port Tunnel all to themselves. They are the ones that are anti-competition. (Looks like the Libertarian experiment isn’t working.)

  2. a. DB only provides a service on this route for 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week. We provide a service all day, all week.

    b. It’s not fair competition. Dublin Bus gets massive subsidies. Swords Express gets nothing.

    c. Many of DB’s bus stops are very close to Swords Express stops. Their new routes run along routes that we have had applications in for for a long time, and that we want to provide all-day services on.

    d. Predatory behaviour is never legal and is never fair competition.

  3. You can’t make money out of the fare box on bus service. That’s been a fact of life for ages, otherwise there would be no state bus operators to keep the system alive. This is why I called this a “Libertarian experiment”.

    Personally, I feel that the EU forced this on member states in order to create chaos and tie up national courts while they pursue their agenda of federalisation and power consolidation. But that’s a matter for another type of forum, perhaps.

  4. The stage is now rapidly being set for a flood of Court based activity which will only benefit (and i stress ONLY) Mr Callinan and his colleagues at the bar.

    It`s interesting,if a wee bit OT,that the Legal Profession remains a bastion of uncompetitive and outdated procedures whilst it`m members wax lyrical on behalf of the Swords Expresses and Circle Lines of the world.

    However,it appears as if the current flurry of legality has more to do with the sudden realization in the wake of the Patton Flyer debacle that the Department and it`s senior administrators simply do not have a breeze as to what to do in the current situation.

    So essentially what we now have is a Power Struggle with far reaching political and social implications,none of which will offer any solace to people actually wanting to make that modal switch to PROPERLY organized and operated Public Transport.

    With a Minister who appears incapable of forming an opinion on anything without first commissioning a study or report on it and whatever ramifications may or may not derive from it.
    This lad is in turn advised by a selection of Senior Civil Servants who would be quite at home in a Charles Dickens novel.

    Antoin,Paul Morton,Bartons,McConns and all the other circling flesh eaters may well have their short feast on the carcass of what they percieve to be their tormentor,but once the skeleton of Dublin Bus is plucked bare the predators which will emerge from the long grass will make Dublin Bus seem like a pussycat.

    But of course the new predator will perhaps come with cheque book in hand to buy up a few oul route licences that are lying around…???

    Interesting times ahead but not ones where Public Service,let alone interest will be to the fore !

  5. DB’s route is the 142. There are 3 buses a day. None at weekends. They all leave before 8am and the return trip is between 17:00 an 18:00. The Swords Express is a fully fledged service from 0630 to 1930 with a moderate weekend service. Its not quite competition as the route isn’t the same, the service is paltry though you can see DB putting out feelers to see can they extend it to fully compete with SE.

  6. I think Laura,you will find the history of the 142 reads a trifle odd.

    Perhaps it best left alone as it rather suddenly appeared in the aftermath of the opening of the DPAT and only after some quite unusual local political rumblings.

    Of substantially more importance is the refusal of the Department of Transport to sanction a licence for the 141 route.
    This was (is) to be a full service route from Swords to Rathmines via the Swords Road QBC.

    The Department`s initial reason for the refusal of a licence was (is) their belief that it could comete with the Swords Express.

    The Department (or sections thereof) appear unaware as to the distinction between a Limited Stop non-accessible EXPRESS Coach service and a Fully Accessible stage-carriage service.

    Sadly for commuters from Swords and environs this Departmental ignorance is preventing a real improvement to the area`s Public Transport.

    There is little or no actual crossover between the Swords Express (Eirebus) and Bus Atha Cliath services.
    The only positive way out of this is to FORCE the Department to accept the wisdom of a massive increase in Public Bus Services to North County Dublin…without recourse to worrying about Eirebus`s financial health !!

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