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Licence Categories

There are currently five categories of the public bus passenger service licence.

In the event that a service does not fall precisely within one of the categories, a licence should be applied for under the category that most closely matches the predominant features of the service.

The Authority will ultimately designate the category based upon the information provided.


  1. 1. Regular Service Licences:

    This category provides for the regular transport of passengers on a predetermined route, with predetermined pick up/set down points. Services of this nature could include:

    • Interurban Services: services linking major towns and cities. Such services may be further categorised as follows:
      • Express services with no immediate stops or limited intermediate stops at major towns or cities on the route. For example Cork to Limerick to Galway
      • Multi-stop services with multiple intermediate stops between terminal points
    • Commuter services: services to centres of employment or education (not a bus service solely for carrying children to or from school), which are provided to match the travel patterns of commuters. In order words, services to the destination are provided predominately in the peak travel periods.
    • Rural services: services linking two or more small towns, villages, or rural areas.
    • Urban/suburban services: includes the majority of services that operate within urban and suburban areas.

    All licences in this category will be granted for 3 years and will be renewable under the terms of section 16 of the PTR Act 2009. Licences can be for an all-year round service or for seasonal services. For example summer months or academic terms.  

  2. 2. Specific Targeted Services (including tours, social events and so on):

    This category will be applied in respect of operations that provide dedicated services specific to groups such as tourists or social event attendees.

    There are two categories of specific targeted services:

    • City or regional hop-on hop-off tourist services
    • Services for people attending specific social events, which may serve one destination or may include intermediate stops

    Licences under this category will have a validity period of 3 years, and will be renewable under the terms of section 16 of the PTR Act 2009.

  3. 3. Event or Venue Specific Licences:

    This category applies in respect of the provision of services to:

    • Event: Such as a festival, a race meeting, a concert
    • Venue: All events for a period of twelve months at a specific venue such as Croke Park, the 3 Arena or the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. At the time of licence application for this type of service, the applicant may provide a list of events at a specific venue that they intend to provide services to. All licensed events will be listed on the licence. Additional events can be added to the licence, subject to approval, provided that the Authority is notified in writing at least ten working days prior to the event.

    Licences under this category will not be renewable, and all future applications will be considered without any entitlements arising from previous licences held for a particular event.

    Licences in this category will be granted for the period of the event or twelve months for a venue with a number of events.

  4. 4. Temporary services:

    This is a special category of licence to be made available to facilitate the deployment of bus services in exceptional circumstances.

  5. 5. Demand Responsive Services:

    Circumstances may arise where services are authorised to have optional routes that reflect specific demands.

    An example of this would be a service that addresses the specific needs of particular people living in relatively remote locations. This type of service is normally provided for passengers who have booked in advance. Licences under this category will have a validity period of 1 year and will be renewable under the terms of section 16 of the PTR Act 2009.