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Permissible auxiliary services

Licensed services: Permissible auxiliary services

 

The Authority has been notified by an Garda Síochána and other third parties, including third level colleges, tourist location managers and event organisers, of congestion and capacity issues arising from large numbers of buses converging at busy locations at similar times.

This creates a health and safety hazard, both for your drivers and for the general public, including your passengers.

The Authority would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the following:

  1. Each departure on your Licence is served by one bus only unless otherwise stated
  2. Auxiliary services are permitted only under certain specific conditions, please see Appendix 1 below for further details:
    1. The additional demand could not have been reasonable anticipated
    2. The auxiliary departure may not operate for more than 3 weeks, consecutively or otherwise, within a period of not more than 3 months from the first deployment of the auxiliary services
    3. The Authority is notified within 5 working days of the deployment of the first auxiliary service
  3. If any of the Licensed departures you provide utilise more than one bus and is not a permissible auxiliary departure, an amendment must be applied for prior to the operation of any auxiliary services.

The Authority is monitoring compliance of all operators to the above.  Non-compliance with points 1, 2 or 3 above is an offence under Part 2 of the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009.

Appendix 1
Extract from the Guidelines for the Licensing of Public Bus Passenger Services, page 11

Permissible auxiliary services
Unless otherwise stated in the licence, a reference to a departure as provided for by a bus licence is a reference to the departure of a single bus. However, auxiliary departures are permissible where the licence holder determines on any given day that there is additional demand for the deployment of such departures, which could not have been reasonably anticipated.

An auxiliary service departure on a licensed route departs as close to the timetabled departure as safe and operationally possible, serves all or some points of the route and terminates on that route. The auxiliary departure is deployed for the purposes of accommodating unanticipated additional demand for a scheduled departure on that route.

The approval of the Authority is not required in respect of the deployment of an auxiliary departure that operates for not more than 3 weeks, consecutively or otherwise, within a period of not more than 3 months from the first deployment of the auxiliary services. Auxiliary departures, as described above, are only permissible if the licence holder informs the Authority of the operation of the departure within 5 working days of the first operation of the auxiliary departure and that the departure otherwise complies with the licence.

Any non-scheduled departure on a route that is referred to in any schedule or timetable published or displayed in any format by the licence holder or any other operator which provides services on a subcontracting basis to the licence holder in respect of the route in question cannot be regarded as being an auxiliary departure.

In the interest of the Authority providing efficient and effective public transport, where the licence holder wishes to deploy additional departures, beyond the scope outlined above, it must apply to the Authority for an amendment of their licence as per section 6 of these Guidelines.

Package tours, Tour Operator/Agent Licences & the Public Transport Regulation Act 2009

Following on from recent compliance activities, it has come to the attention of the Authority that there is some confusion regarding the definition of a package tour, the definition of a tour operator and the impacts of these on the requirement to hold a public bus passenger service licence under the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009.

For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to draw your attention to the following:

  • Packages as defined by the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act, 1995 do not include day tours within Ireland.

As per the Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act, 1995, a package is defined as:

““package”… means a combination of at least two of the following components pre-arranged by the organiser when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than twenty-four hours or includes overnight accommodation—

  1. transport;
  2. accommodation;
  3. other tourist services, not ancillary to transport or accommodation, accounting for a significant proportion of the package”

 

Therefore day tours carried out within Ireland by bus or coach do not fall under this definition. This is because they do not include an overnight stay and/ or last for more than 24 hours. If the day tour has a charge per passenger, the position of the Authority is that such services require a public bus passenger service licence. Charges can include, for example, cash, online payments, pre-paid journey cards and pre-paid tickets.

  • Tour Operator/ Travel Agent as defined by the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act, 1982 do not include day tours within Ireland

As per the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act, 1982, a tour operator and a travel agent are defined as:

““tour operator” means a person other than a carrier who arranges for the purpose of selling or offering for sale to the public accommodation for travel by air, sea or land transport to destinations outside Ireland, or who holds himself out by advertising or otherwise as one who may make available such accommodation, either solely or in association with other accommodation, facilities or services;

 “travel agent” means a person other than a carrier who, as agent, sells or offers to sell to, or purchases or offers to purchase on behalf of, the public accommodation on air, sea or land transport to destinations outside Ireland or who holds himself out by advertising or otherwise as one who may make available such accommodation, either solely or in association with other accommodation, facilities or services.”

 Therefore Tour Operators and/ or Travel Agents Licences as issued by the Commission for Aviation Regulation under the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act, 1982, do not apply to day tours carried out within Ireland. This is because they are defined in that Act as being for the transport of persons to destinations outside of Ireland. If the day tour has a charge per passenger, the position of the Authority is that such services require a public bus passenger service licence. Charges can include, for example, cash, online payments, pre-paid journey cards and pre-paid tickets.

If the tour crosses an EU Member State border and is carried out by bus or coach, Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009 and its pursuant requirements apply i.e. each vehicle providing the service carries on board a certified true copy of the Community licence and a valid control document for the journey. Control documents include a Journey Form for occasional travel or an Authorisation for regular services.

If you have any queries regarding whether a service you are considering providing falls under the remit of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009 and therefore requires a licence, please do not hesitate to contact the Authority by email at buslicensing@nationaltransport.ie.

IMPORTANT: Public Safety Issue – Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience has advised the Authority of an ongoing public safety issue at the Cliffs of Moher. The issue centres on the fact that the Visitor Experience site is at capacity for coaches/ buses.

The Authority reminds you that any Licence issued by the Authority is for each departure to operate using one bus only unless otherwise stated. Stop permissions issued by the Cliffs of Moher are issued on this basis and therefore the deployment of auxiliary services to the Cliffs of Moher is not permitted.

To mitigate the current issue and to prevent any increase, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience will be shortly implementing the following:

  • If a vehicle arrives which is more than what is licensed e.g. vehicle number 4 arrives on a Licence which permits a maximum of 3 vehicles, that vehicle will be refused entry and will be turned away. When arriving at the site as part of a licensed tour, the coach driver/ guide must carry a full copy of the Licence on board, as per the Licence Conditions. This must be shown to the staff of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience if requested. The Licence must be complete and include the timetable.
  • Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience cannot provide any new stop approvals at any time of the day between 01 March and 31 October annually. This includes any requests to deploy additional vehicles to currently licensed departures. Any such licence amendment requests will be returned to the Operator by the Authority.
  • Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience will consider any requests for new stop approvals for services operating between 01 November and 28/29 February annually strictly on a case by case basis.

If you have any queries on any of the above, please contact either the Authority at buslicensing@nationaltransport.ie or the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience at Geraldine.enright@cliffsofmoher.ie