The Road Transport Act, 1932, as amended, is the legislative basis for the licensing of scheduled bus services here. This legislation governs the provision of passenger services other than those provided by Bus Éireann and Bus Átha Cliath.
In considering an application for a licence under the Act, my Department is required to have regard to whether the proposed service is "required in the public interest having regard to the passenger road services and other forms of passenger transport available to the public on or in the neighbourhood of the proposed service". This legislative requirement has meant in practice that licences have often been refused to private operators in urban areas where a service is already being provided, usually by a CIE company.
There is widespread acceptance that there are a number of difficulties associated with the implementation of the 1932 Road Transport Act. It is clear that this is a very complex matter and that there are no simple solutions.
As outlined in my Department's statement of strategy it is planned to carry out a review of options for the effective regulation of the bus market with a view to introducing legislation to replace the 1932 Act. This review will focus on improving customer service, effective enforcement, fair competition and appropriate integration of services. Preliminary work has started on the review and all possible options, including those referred to in the Deputy's question, will be considered.