* To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the recent occurrence at a meeting of Galway City Council whereby the National Transport Authority represented Bus Éireann to outline the company’s plans for services on newly constructed bus lanes in the city as opposed to the private bus company who took charge of its own presentation; and his views that it is appropriate for the NTA to perform such a function in view of the fact that it is the statutory body tasked with granting licences to operate public transport services.
– Seán Kyne.
I am advised that in December 2011, Galway City Councillors requested the officials of Galway City Council to arrange presentations on bus services in Galway City. As the National Transport Authority (NTA) had recently undertaken and completed a review of the bus services in the city, the NTA and the City Council officials decided that it would be appropriate that the NTA would present the outcome of that review to the City Council.
A presentation was given by the NTA to the Council on 9th January 2012. It dealt with the network review that had been completed; the proposed changes to the PSO (Public Service Obligation) network operated by Bus Eireann arising from that review and provided an update on various other initiatives being undertaken by the NTA.
Under the legislation which established the NTA, the NTA are responsible for those public transport services which comprise the PSO network. In the case of Galway City, Bus Eireann operates a network of PSO routes under a contract with the NTA. Accordingly it is entirely appropriate that the NTA, as the procurer of those services, would discuss the network changes emanating from its review of the network. It is not open to private operators to operate PSO routes at present.