Bus and rail passengers face significant disruption over the weekend as a two-day bus strike at Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus is still set to go ahead on Friday and Saturday.

From midnight tomorrow, services at the two State companies will be at a standstill for 48 hours in the dispute over putting 10% of routes out to private tender.

Additionally, Irish Rail had coincidentally scheduled essential line maintenance for this weekend, which is set to compound the disruption for public transport users.

On Friday, rail services will operate normally.

However, on Saturday, while there will be services from Heuston Station in Dublin, the train times will be altered.

On Sunday and Monday, Dart services will not operate north of Connolly Station and the Belfast trains will have a bus service from Drogheda to Dublin.

Passengers are advised to check the websites of all three CIE companies before trying to travel.

Meanwhile, there is no sign of any intervention that could avert the industrial action planned for Friday and Saturday.

A further five days of stoppages are scheduled for later in May.

The strike is over Government plans to put 10% of bus routes out to private tender.

Bus unions SIPTU and the NBRU fear that the move could ultimately drive down pay and conditions in the two State bus companies.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe yesterday gave a commitment that no employee will be forced to transfer to private sector operators as a result of the tender.

At the Oireachtas Transport Committee today, Chief Executive of Bus Éireann Martin Nolan said bus companies must implement Government policy and urged unions to call off the strike.

However SIPTU Divisional Organiser Owen Reidy has said the work stoppage will go ahead as planned.  

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Reidy welcomed what he described as the "minister's aspirations" but said workers will go ahead with strike action until all aspects of the union's six-point agenda are addressed. 

Separately, maximum taxi fares will increase by 4% from tomorrow following a formal review of the Maximum Taxi Fares by the Board of the National Transport Authority.

The last increase to maximum taxi fares was in 2008.