Licensing process

It is in your interest to include in your application to the Authority as much detailed information as you can about the service you intend to provide, including the following:

  • The market it will serve.
  • How it will add value for public transport users.
  • Any information you have regarding the number of potential passengers. To demonstrate that there is demand for your proposed service you should include any documentation, such as passenger questionnaires, evidence of new or expanding passenger pools (for example, businesses, universities, shopping centres, housing estates) along the proposed route and requests from local businesses who support your application.
  • How it differs from the existing public transport services.
  • Information about the accessibility of your vehicle(s) or service(s) for people with disabilities.

Please see Apply for a Licence or Amend an Existing Licence for further details on how to make a valid licence application.

Once a valid application has been reviewed by the Authority, one of three decision types will be made:

  • An offer of the full service as applied for.
  • A part offer of the service applied for – this can include offering only selected applied for services, changing of the timings of the services.
  • Refusal of the application.

It should be noted that an offer is indicative and not legally binding.

An offer is not a licence to operate a service.

The table below shows an indicative timeline (in days) for when a decision will be reached.

These timescales are for guidance purposes only, and are not final, being dependent on the applicant providing all information requested in a timely manner and the complexity of the application.

Licence Category Application Amendment
Regular 56 28
Specific Targeted 28 28
Event/ Venue 7 n/a
Demand Responsive 56 28
Temporary 2 n/a

Once a decision has been made, it will be notified to the applicant in writing.

The applicant can then:

  • Accept the decision.  This must be done in writing no more than 21 days after the decision has been communicated to them.
  • Appeal the decision.  This must be done in writing no more than 21 days after the decision has been communicated to them. Please see the section Appeal a Decision for more information.

If an applicant has accepted the offer, they must also supply any outstanding documentation and/or payments by the date stated in the offer of grant letter.  Any outstanding documentation and/or payments required will be notified to the applicant.

These may include:

  • Copy of Community Licence(s) or Road Passenger Transport Operator Licence(s), which includes all buses proposed for use on the proposed service.
  • Copy of valid insurance for the provision of the licensed service(s).
  • Copy of Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence(s) for all vehicles.
  • Copy of approval from the relevant Local Authority or landowner (in the case of private property) for the proposed bus stops en route.
  • The appropriate fee for the licence(s).
  • Details confirming the capacity of vehicles to be used.
  • Details confirming the accessibility status of vehicles proposed for the service.
  • Details of any subcontracting arrangements proposed.
  • Details of the livery of the proposed buses for use on the service.
  • Any other relevant information requested.
  • A copy of Certificate of Road-worthiness for all vehicles proposed to operate the service.

Any documentation that requires the agreement of a third party must be verified by the third party, either by submission of the original hardcopy of the document or by direct email from the third party to the Authority. A forwarded email from the third party or a photocopy of the original document is not acceptable.

Where an applicant does not comply with the requirements set out above by the specified deadline, the provisional offer will be stopped, and the Authority will inform the applicant that the application will receive no further consideration.

An applicant may request an extension of the final date for submission of documentation (for example, delays in obtaining stop approval). Such a request must be made prior to the final date for submission and may be approved in full, approved with modifications or refused by the Authority.

When can I start?

Where an application for a licence or an amendment is made, you must wait for the licence or licence amendment to be granted by the Authority before you start.

The existence of an application for a new licence or an application to amend an existing licence does not confer any rights to provide the public bus passenger service while the application is under consideration by the Authority. This would be in contravention of the PTR Act, 2009.

In other words, you cannot commence a public bus passenger service or change the licensed service you already provide without a licence being issued by the Authority.

Please see the Authority’s Guidelines for the Licensing of Public Bus Passenger Services and the Brief Guide Public Bus Passenger Services for more information.