Answered in Dáil
*To ask the Minister for Transport the action he is taking to open up the Dublin bus market to further competition and to increase bus capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Fergus O'Dowd.
For PRIORITY answer on Wednesday, 1st October, 2008.
Ref No: 32957/08
Answered by Noel Dempsey T.D.
Minister for Transport
In accordance with the Programme for Government commitment, the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 was enacted in July 2008 and provides for the establishment of the Dublin Transport Authority, the DTA.
For the first time, we have the law in place to ensure that a single body will be in charge of surface transport in the Greater Dublin Area.
The DTA Act 2008 gives the new Dublin Transport Authority the power to procure public passenger transport services through the making of public transport services contracts. Under section 48 of the Act, the DTA may enter into contracts following open tendering in respect of public bus passenger services, as well as metro and light rail services. It also provides that public bus and rail services can be secured by means of direct award contracts. Section 52 provides that direct award contracts will only apply to the continued provision of the services currently being provided by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.
Accordingly, the future growth in the market for subvented public bus services will be pursued by way of open tendering in accordance with the new EU Regulation 1370/2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road, which will become mandatory from December 2009. All contracts will be framed against the background of EU law and will set strict standards of operational performance and customer service and will contain penalties for non-performance.
For the time being, the Road Transport Act 1932 will continue to be the basis for the licensing of commercial bus services provided by private operators. The Programme for Government does, however, include a commitment to improving bus services under Transport 21 by reforming the bus licensing provisions of the Road Transport Act 1932.
It is my intention that proposals for a new bus licensing regime will follow in a Public Transport Regulation Bill which 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. 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 will encompass provisions relating to the subvented bus market outside the Greater Dublin Area that are consistent with the new EU PSO Regulation.