Answered in Dáil
*To ask the Minister for Transport the reforms he has planned for public bus transport in the Greater Dublin Area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Fergus O'Dowd.
For PRIORITY answer on Thursday, 8th May, 2008.
Ref No: 18002/08
Answered by the Minister for Transport
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. The Dublin Transport Authority Bill has been published and has passed Second Stage in the Seanad.
The DTA Bill sets out the mechanisms for the award of contracts for subvention in line with the new regime introduced under the new EU Regulation on Public Service Obligations in the transport sector, 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 to be contained in a Public Transport Regulation Bill. At this stage it is too early to be precise on the detail of the proposals except to confirm that the new Bill will deal with the replacement of the Road Transport Act 1932 and the provisions of the Transport Act 1958 that relate to the provision of bus services by the State bus companies. The new bus licensing regime will be designed in a manner consistent with the new EU PSO Regulation. It is envisaged that the new licensing structure will apply in respect of all commercial bus services, including those provided by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, and that the powers to grant licences in the Greater Dublin Area will be given to the Dublin Transport Authority. The new Bill will also encompass provisions relating to the subvented bus market outside the Greater Dublin Area that are consistent with the EU PSO Regulation.
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.