A group of passengers travelling from Dublin airport to Donegal were left standing in sub-zero temperatures last night when a Bus Eireann bus failed to turn up.
Two Donegal businesswomen have complained of being let down by the service with no notice from the company. They, along with others, faced a freezing wait of more than an hour and a half last night, despite assurances that the bus was coming.
Meg O’Gara and Evelyn Mc Glynn were travelling back from a business trip to Frankfurt when they encountered problem after problem. They have both missed a day’s work because of the issues, they said.
After a delayed flight into Dublin, they waited on the X30 Dublin-Donegal Town bus to arrive at the airport at 11.40pm. They said they confirmed with the Route 32 Letterkenny driver that the X30 was on its way, before waiting at the correct stop.
However, when the 11.40pm bus did not show, they could not find any information warning of any delay.
“The bus simply vanished from the TFI updates app,” Meg said.
An hour later, Meg got a response from the company saying that the 11pm service was “cancelled on short notice for operational reasons”.
“Eventually a Marley’s bus came and we made it to Donegal at 4.35am. We checked into a hotel for a couple of hours’ sleep.”
In the morning Evelyn Mc Glynn said she attempted to get a bus home from Donegal Town to Ballybofey, but that 9.35am service did not show for an hour. “I was more concerned about a woman who was relying on the bus to get to a hospital appointment in Letterkenny,” Evelyn said.
Evelyn asked: “Why put on a bus timetable when it’s not going to come? It’s great to have a night service but Bus Eireann needs to have something in place to let people know if a bus is coming out not. There is nobody to ask at the airport.
“What’s worse is there were tourists and a family from Ukraine with a small girl of about five or six standing in the freezing cold.
“The bus is a great resource for the county but families with small children should not be left stranded on the coldest night of the year. We need the services to attract people to visit live and experience our beautiful county.
“You understand the weather and flights being delayed, but for us, the big thing is with Donegal, if people are going to have faith in a bus service, we need notice if one is cancelled. The inadequacy is embarrassing.”
Donegal Daily contacted Bus Eireann for comment and the reply is as follows:
The Expressway coach X30 scheduled to operate the 23:00 service from Dublin (Busáras) to Donegal yesterday evening (11/12/2022) experienced mechanical difficulties shortly before scheduled departure and could not operate. Our team in the Dublin area made every effort to get a replacement vehicle allocated to operate this service but unfortunately this was not possible at such short notice.
Bus Éireann would like to apologise to our customers affected by this cancellation. Seven people had pre-booked seats on the X30 (Dublin-Donegal) service, and they were notified by email about the cancellation. There was a small delay in the email notification being sent to our customers who had pre-booked seats and we are investigating this matter. Passengers waiting in Busáras were also notified of the cancellation by our supervisors in Busáras.
Mechanical issues are very rare and we pride ourselves on delivering 99% of service on this route in recent months. While we fully appreciate the impact on individuals in the event of a cancellation, as we operate 182 services a week, we estimate that fewer than 0.1% have not operated over the last four months. Following a more challenging period during the early summer we have acted to improve reliability and resilience on the Expressway Route 30/X30.
The Expressway Route 64 Galway to Derry service at 06:00am this morning did operate as scheduled but due to bad weather conditions it was running 45 minutes later than planned.
Expressway is as you know a commercial service, which does not receive any State subvention. The online booking system is an important tool in enabling us to allocate Expressway resources to best match demand. As we are coming into the busy Christmas season we strongly advise all passengers, including those with Free Travel Passes, to book online so that they can be guaranteed a seat.
Our local Service Delivery Teams in Dublin and the North-West areas are continuing to actively monitor and improve service performance along the Dublin to Donegal corridor.