National Express Ireland to invest €30M in new vehicles and add extra employees by 2023

01 August 2022 12:00 PM

John Boughton Dublin Express

John Boughton, Managing Director of National Express Ireland

Company sees future of intercity coach travel to include hydrogen powered coaches.

National Express Ireland, the Irish entity of the UK’s largest coach operator, is announcing plans to invest around €30m on a fleet of up to 50 new vehicles over the next 5 years.

The ambitious growth plans will build on its existing operations in Dublin alongside expanding to deliver wider intercity travel in Ireland.

The company has already invested over €5 million in its Dublin airport-based service ‘Dublin Express’ - with an existing operation of 14 buses projected to increase to 20 by the end of year. The service currently employs 60 staff in its retail, driver and management teams and expects this to reach over 100 in 2023. The city-airport shuttle service has already carried over 700,000 customers across the capital in the last year.

National Express Ireland will be bringing the most sustainable and environmentally advanced bus and coach fleet to the country and wants to be the first to operate a fully Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) bus fleet in Dublin in line with its fleet zero emission target of 2030. It is also aiming for all Ireland and UK coaches to be zero emission by 2035.

The company already has a strong track record in working closely with transport authorities, securing investment in zero emission vehicles and local infrastructure to enhance public transport networks.

Managing Director of National Express Ireland John Boughton said: “We’ve been strong enough to ride the challenges of the pandemic and its various lockdowns and restrictions and now we want to actively explore new opportunities.

“We believe that Ireland has an opportunity to be a global leader in public transport by accelerating plans for zero emission vehicles. This inevitably includes both how vehicles and supporting infrastructure are funded. There are some well-established and successful models for private sector and public sector working together, including National Express’ experience in Birmingham.”

National Express’ green credentials already see it operating 29 fully electric buses in the West Midlands (UK), which will increase to over 150 in the next year when Coventry will become the first all electric bus city. It also operates 20 hydrogen buses with Birmingham City Council as part of plans to scale up to hundreds more in the next two to three years.

Mr Boughton added: “We see an element of inter-city coach travel through using hydrogen fuel in the future and are actively working to develop a prototype. Thinking longer term, this will require a local hydrogen energy fuel source and we intend to work with the Irish government and transport authorities so that infrastructure does not become a constraining factor on our shared ambition.”