Dublin Transport Authority (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2018: First Stage

I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 to provide that no further competitively tendered for contracts of public bus services and/or public passenger transport services in excess of those competitively tendered for contracts which the National Transport Authority is currently entered into shall take place until such time as a period of five years has elapsed from the date of enactment of this Act and a full review of said entered into competitively tendered for contracts has been carried out by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and to provide for related matters.

I am introducing a second version of the Dublin Transport Authority (Amendment) Bill 2018 because there was an error with the original Bill. I appreciate the House affording me the opportunity to do so. The purpose of the Bill is to prevent any further awarding of contracts of public transport passenger services for a period of five years. A total of 10% of Dublin Bus and 10% of Bus Éireann contracts were awarded without tender under direct award contracts, with Go-Ahead winning the full 10% of Dublin Bus routes and some of the Bus Éireann contracts. The need for this legislation was further highlighted to me when I tabled a parliamentary question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, about his powers in respect of licensing and he confirmed that he had no role in this licensing and, furthermore, had no intention of having any role in it. The powers were left to the National Transport Authority, and the Minister views this as appropriate.

The original decision to put 10% of routes out to tender was taken to provide a comparative basis on which we might ensure not only that we are getting value for money for taxpayers, but also and of equal importance that we are getting an effective, efficient service for the passengers who use our public transport. A recent decision by the NTA to announce its intention to increase by a further 10% direct award contracts is premature, to say the least. We have not been able to assess the service being operated by Go-Ahead, so its performance has not been measured. The reason for this is that in some instances the direct award contract has yet to commence. As such, the NTA's intention to tender out further routes is premature.

The routes being considered for tender include one which has recorded growth of 14% since 2017 and another which has recorded growth of 50% since 2016. Bus Éireann showed its capabilities in respect of efficiency, public service, value for money and customer service when it recently won a tender for Waterford routes. It won it against other competitive tenders both domestic and international. This tender process, as I said, was initiated by the NTA. This is evidence that Bus Éireann can operate and compete successfully and offer value for money and a quality customer service. At this stage, without knowing the value of the 10% of services that were originally put out to tender or how they are operating, it would be premature to tender out any further routes.

I hope the Dáil will support this legislation to prevent further tendering of these routes for, at least, a minimum of five years.

Is the Bill opposed?

Question put and agreed to.

As this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

Question put and agreed to.