Bus strike hits Dublin-Belfast service as new route launched
A NEW bus service has been launched between Dublin and Belfast on the day a major transport strike hit the Republic.
Buses between the cities were among those hit by a strike which has crippled the Republic's public transport network.
Translink last night confirmed that some routes between Derry, Belfast and Dublin, operated by Bus Eireann, were affected by the walkout.
There was no impact on the Enterprise rail service between Belfast and Dublin.
Translink said its services X1, X2, X3 and X4 from Derry and Belfast to Dublin continued as normal yesterday while Bus Eireann services X1 from Belfast, via Dublin airport and X3 from Derry, also via the airport, did not operate as a result of the strike.
The spokeswoman added that Translink plans “to have extra coach capacity on our services to manage increased demand”.
Bus routes in the Republic were thrown into chaos when all-out strike at Bus Eireann spread to some rail services.
Workers at the company took to pickets over a management decision to enforce radical cost-cutting to stop the business from going bust.
The dispute centres on millions of losses run up at Bus Eireann in recent years, with management warning the company is at risk of going bust.
Siptu's Willie Noone said the strike action had to be taken after management tried to enforce 30 percent pay cuts.
Irish transport Minister Shane Ross said he was deeply concerned about the impact on the public.
"It is now time for both sides to show this willingness can result in an acceptable and fair agreement that safeguards the company's future and all of those who rely upon it," he said.
The strike came as a new bus service from Belfast to Dublin was launched by private travel firm Dublin Coach.
The new M1 Express will run from Belfast's Glengall Street to Custom House Quay in Dublin 16 times a day, seven days a week in a journey those behind the venture say will take less than two hours.
Contracts Manager Cecil Brett said there was no link between the strike and the launch of the new route.
“”It's purely co-incidental,” he said.
“We would have no information that it was likely to happen,” he said.
Mr Brett said that the initial uptake for the new service, which has a special introductory £8 return ticket offer, was slow.
“The first day was literally a few passengers, the word is not out that we exist,” he said.
“That would be normal for any start up.”