Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (36, 37, 38, 39, 40)

John Perry

Question:

118 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Transport if he has satisfied himself with the procedure for the location of bus termini; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6737/04]

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Paul McGrath

Question:

152 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Transport the plans he has to review the procedure for the location of bus stops; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6732/04]

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Gerard Murphy

Question:

190 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Transport the plans he has to review the procedure for the location of bus termini; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6735/04]

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Gay Mitchell

Question:

198 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport if he has satisfied himself with the procedure for the location of bus stops; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6734/04]

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Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

370 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport if he has satisfied himself that all bus stops are located in such a way as to meet adequate health and safety standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7053/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 118, 152, 190, 198 and 370 together.

The power to determine the locations for the provision of bus stops and termini is vested in the Garda Commissioner under section 85 of the Road Traffic Act 1961. Under that section the commissioner may issue a direction to a bus operator identifying the specific location of bus stops and termini in respect of any bus route and in that context may determine that certain stops may only be used for passengers boarding or leaving buses. I understand that the Garda engages in a consultation process with both the local authority and the bus service provider before issuing a direction under section 85. In addition, section 86 of the 1961 Act empowers the commissioner to make by-laws relating to the use of bus stops and termini and such by-laws have been in place since 1962.

The Road Traffic Act 2002 introduces a number of significant changes to the provisions established in the 1961 Act. In the first instance, section 16 of the 2002 Act provides that responsibility for the determination of the location of bus stops and termini will be transferred from the Garda Commissioner to road authorities. This new approach reflects the evolution of policy and the development of the role of local authorities generally in regard to traffic regulation and management since the passage of the 1961 Act.

Second, section 20 of the 2002 Act provides that the Minister for Transport will in future provide for the regulation of the use of bus stops and termini. This is to ensure that the controls to be applied to the use of facilities will be contained in the same statutory framework that applies to traffic regulation generally.

Arising out of the recent tragic accident on Wellington Quay, Dublin, on 21 February last, and in addition to the Garda investigation, Dublin Bus has launched its own company inquiry to determine the cause and the circumstances surrounding the accident. The inquiry will investigate the circumstances of the accident to establish its causes and any contributory factors and will make recommendations to prevent a recurrence. Any such recommendations, which refer to the location of bus stops and termini or to the use of such facilities, will inform the development of the new statutory arrangements envisaged under the Road Traffic Act 2002.