herald

Friday 22 September 2017

Next stop 25 as Dublin Bus and DART prepare for silver jubilee celebrations

A 'rush-hour' milestone is fast approaching when Dublin Bus and DART celebrate a quarter of a century carrying the city's commuters.

The twin transport fleets that keep Dublin moving will mark their 25th anniversaries of their breakaway from the old CIE brand to become independent operating companies.

Philip Donohue (51), who began as a bus conductor, went on to become a bus driver and is now head of human resources and resource development at Dublin Bus.

Philip (right) was one of 130 staff to receive gold watches marking at least 25 years' service this week. The watches were the very last 'CIE' watches to be presented -- they all began under the Coras Iompar Eireann banner.

"Dublin Bus has a connection with the people of Dublin. I've very happy memories of my time as a conductor on buses based at Ringsend," said Philip.

"Bus conductors built up great relationships with regular passengers on the old two-man bus crews. A lot of our staff who carried children to school went on to carry the children of these children to school years later," he told the Herald.

"Many pensioners living in outlying areas would sometimes make a gift of an apple or a bar of chocolate to crews in the old days. The company still has a great connection with the community," he said.

The Dublin Bus Community Support Programme, which gives grants to hundreds of local groups around the city, helps to reaffirm its role in forging links among the city's neighbourhoods and residents.

The one-person-operated buses became the norm in 1987. The changeover to 'cashless' buses meant drivers no longer handled money. Fares went straight into a ticket unit and change was no longer given. This cut down significantly on attacks on drivers.

The city network expanded greatly over the last couple of decades to penetrate all the new communities that mushroomed during the era of extensive building. The recession cut down on passenger numbers but the numbers have improved over the years, he said.

"We see ourselves as more than just a transport company. Our involvement with schools and GAA and soccer clubs and so many other groups ensures we remain very much part of community," Philip said.

aokeefe@herald.ie

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