A pioneering independent bus service challenging the 1932 Act is a thorn in the side of the Department of Transport, but the operator says they only have themselves to blame.
Fascinating article in the Irish Times today about plans by the operator of the unlicenced Patton Flyer bus service to expand with further routes. (paid registration required to view)
The service which has been running since last summer is, according to the Department of Transport, illegal, and they have referred its operation to the Gardai, though no action seems to have been taken yet.
Now the operator has announced plans to expand with a further 4 routes being designed, which could turn this minor irritation into a head-on challenge to the current licencing regime.
However Trevor Patton says that his company has attempted to comply with all relevant legislation, and has had a licence application for the original Dalkey service with the department since 2006.
From the Irish Times article:
Referring to the Dalkey route, Mr Patton said: “If there was a good reason why there should not be public transport on that route, then the Department of Transport should have been able to determine that reason in almost two years since the licence application was made.”
With publication of the Dublin Transportation Bill promised in December, January, February, before easter, and now “next month” the chances of the root cause of the issue being resolved any time soon are slim.
Minister Dempsey also promises reform of the bus licencing system, but can’t say when it will happen, telling the Dail recently that “While it is not possible at this time to indicate a precise time as to when the legislative proposals on regulatory reform of the bus market will be published, applications for new bus licences and notifications from State bus operators will continue to be processed under the provisions of the Road Transport Act 1932, as amended, and the notification system with reference to the Transport Act 1958, as appropriate.”
Which would fine, if the licences were processed in a timely manner.
But again, like the case of the Swords Express and the Dublin Bus 41X licence application, the Department seems unable to make licence decisions in any kind of a reasonable timeframe.
And the losers, as always, are the passengers.