Answered in Dáil
*To ask the Minister for Transport the degree to which he proposes to facilitate competition between the public and the private sectors in the area of bus passenger transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Bernard J. Durkan.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 17th February, 2009.
Ref No: 6191/09
Answered by Noel Dempsey T.D.
Minister for Transport
In accordance with the Agreed 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 in the Greater Dublin Area will be pursued by way of open tendering in accordance with the new EU Regulation No. 1370/2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road, which will become mandatory from December this year. 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.
The Government has recently approved the General Scheme of the Public Transport Regulation Bill which contains proposals for a new bus licensing regime which will replace the Road Transport Act 1932, which applies to the licensing of private bus operators, and the provisions of the Transport Act 1958 that relate to the provision of bus services by the State bus companies. In accordance with the Programme for Government commitment, the proposed licensing regime will provide a level playing field for all bus market participants, both public and private. 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.
In the light of the recent Government approval of the
General Scheme of the Public Transport Regulation Bill, the Bill will now be drafted and published as soon as possible.