Answered in Dáil
To ask the Minister for Transport the changing policy conditions that led to his announcement that all plans to introduce competition into the Dublin bus market have been abandoned; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Fergus O'Dowd.
For PRIORITY answer on Thursday, 6th March, 2008.
Ref No: 10002/08
Answered by the Minister for Transport
Plans to introduce competition into the Dublin bus market have not been abandoned. The Government is committed to seeing the further expansion and enhancement of public bus services and wants to see a world class service delivered to all citizens.
Moreover, the Government is wholeheartedly committed to getting best value for the travelling public and the taxpayer from significant subsidies being invested by the Exchequer in public bus services operated by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann.
In order to achieve this, the Government has identified in the Programme for Government a number of priorities.
Firstly, the Programme for Government contains a commitment to expedite the establishment of a Dublin Transport Authority, which will have the necessary powers to ensure the delivery of the integrated public transport system envisioned under Transport 21.
It is my intention to bring the Dublin Transport Authority Bill to Cabinet shortly for approval to publish.
In terms of the subvented bus market, the DTA Bill will set out the mechanisms for the award of contracts for this subvention in line with the new regime introduced under the new EU PSO Regulation, which will become mandatory from next year.
The Programme for Government also includes a commitment to improving bus services under 'Transport 21' by reforming the bus licensing provisions of the Road Transport Act 1932, to facilitate the optimum provision of services by providing a level playing field for all market participants, both public and private.
It is my intention that proposals for a new bus licensing regime will follow in subsequent legislative proposals. Any new licensing regime will be designed in a manner consistent with the new EU Regulation on Public Service Obligations in the transport sector, which was adopted in 2007 and will come into force next year.
While it is not possible at this time to indicate a precise time as to when the legislative proposals on regulatory reform of the bus market will be published, applications for new bus licences and notifications from State bus operators will continue to be processed under the provisions of the Road Transport Act 1932, as amended, and the notification system with reference to the Transport Act 1958, as appropriate.