The Deputy's question relates to the operation of Public Service Obligation bus services and the future of such services.
The Action Plan for Jobs includes a commitment to examine the bus market with a view to considering the options for public service obligation or PSO bus services post 2014. This is in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government to explore the benefit to the public transport passenger of more diverse bus service provision. In accordance with these commitments I will be consulting with my Ministerial colleagues soon on the future options for procurement of such services.
Under EU law and the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, as amended, existing PSO bus services can be procured by the National Transport Authority through direct award contracts and any other new subvented services must be procured by way of open tendering.
At the expiry of the current 5 year direct award contracts for the provision of PSO services with Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann in 2014, the NTA has discretion to renew, modify or terminate the direct award provision of bus services following a consultation process with interested parties under which the NTA is obliged to justify its approach.
PSO services are covered by Public Service Contracts and do not fall within the licensing system for commercial bus services. Section 10 of the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009 makes provision for the licensing of commercial bus services. Responsibility for licensing of commercial bus services was transferred from my Department to the National Transport Authority with effect from 1 December 2010.