The Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 sought to ensure the delivery of Transport 21 investment and the provision of an integrated transport system in the Greater Dublin area.  The area covered includes the four Dublin local Authority areas Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.  The Dublin Transport Authority (later the National Transport Authority) is established under the Act.

The legislation sets out its general transport, economic, social, and environmental objectives.  The Authority is to have a strategic transport planning function.  It is to provide for public transport services, an infrastructure and effective transport management.  The Minister may confer additional functions by order.

The Authority is to prepare a draft transport strategy for approval by the Minister providing for a 12 to 20 year strategic planning framework for integrated development of transport infrastructures and services in the Greater Dublin area.  It is to be consistent with regional planning guidelines.

The Authority is to have regard to a number of factors including national policies such as National Spatial Strategy, Transport 21, demographic, economic, land use issues, social trends.  The Authority is to consult with local authorities, organisations and communities when preparing the strategy.

The transport strategy is to be reviewed every six years at least, this is to coincide with the review cycle for regional planning guidelines.

There is to be an integrated implementation plan to set out the work program to be pursued by the Authority in the medium term.  It is to set out actions to be taken within the six year period in respect of infrastructure investment, integration of public transport infrastructure, procurement of public transport services.

The Minister is to provide written guidance on multiannual funding arrangements in conjunction, consultation with the Minister for Finance, plan must have due regard to the need for the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of exchequer resources.

The Authority consists of a chairperson and nine members appointed by the Minister.  The Chief Executive and two other senior managers of the Authority and the Dublin City Manager are ex officio members of the Authority.  The Dublin Transport Authority Advisory Council is established.  It consists of a chairperson and 12 ordinary members appointed by the Minister.

The ordinary members comprise Dublin City Manager or an official nominated, two County Managers from within the area to be decided by the six County Managers or their nominees. Two members of the Dublin Regional Authority, two members of the East, Mideast Regional Authority, representatives from Garda Síochána, four members of organisation is prescribed by Ministers, representatives of relevant community, professional and sectorial organisations within the area.  A gender balance is to be sought.

The Advisory Council is to consider and make recommendations to the Authority in the drafts transport strategy, draft integration implementation plan and draft strategic management plan.  It is to monitor implementation of the strategy and make recommendations as it considers appropriate.  It is to make recommendations generally to the Authority relating to its functions.

The Authority must take into account recommendations of the Council, which it may ultimately accept or reject.  If it rejects, then it must explain the reasons to the Council.

The Minister may issue policy directions or guidelines to the Authority or named subsidiaries.  They must comply with the guidelines.  The Authority must provide advice and services to the Minister on terms and conditions agreed by the party.  It may provide advice and services to third parties including local authorities.  Charges may be imposed.

The Minister may pay grants to the Authority out of monies provided by the Oireachtas.  The Authority and its subsidiaries may with the consent of the Minister for Finance borrow up to a maximum of €1 billion.  The Minister for Finance may guarantee the borrowing.

The Authority is obliged to submit accounts and reports to the Minister which are to be laid before the Oireachtas.  The accounts are to be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The Chief Executive of the Authority is required to give evidence to the Public Accounts Committee.  The Chairman and Chief Executive are to participate at meetings of committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas and must have regard to their recommendations.

The functions of the Authority in relation to public transport infrastructure.  The functions are to secure the provision of or provide public transport infrastructure to enter agreements with other persons to secure the provision of public transport infrastructure to acquire and facilitate development of land adjacent to any public transport infrastructure which contributes to the viability of the infrastructure.

The Authority is where possible to exercise its functions through the existing public transport authorities such as the road authorities, Irish Rail and the Railway Procurement Agency.  The Authority may perform the functions of where it considers it is more convenient, expeditious, effective or economical.

The Authority must consult the public transport authorities before exercising functions itself.  The Minister may specify classes of cases which requires ministerial approval before the Authority exercises the function itself.  The Authority may issue directions to public transport authorities to take such actions as are necessary to secure public transport infrastructure.

Where a public transport Authority fails to comply with directions, the Authority may undertake powers itself.  Where the Authority decides to directly procure Railway infrastructure, it has the powers under the Transport (Railway Infrastructure) Act.  An application to Bord Pleanála for a Railway Order in relation to proposed transport works requires the consent of the Authority.

The legislation provides a framework to support procurement of bus, rail, Metro and Light Rail public transport services by the Authority consistent with EU transport regulations.

The Authority is to procure public passenger transport services by public transport services contract.  The legislation sets out how they are to procure it and the main provisions to be incorporated.

In the case of rail services, they can engage in a direct contract award with Irish Rail.  Direct award contracts maybe also entered in respect of public bus services.  They can also be procured by way of open tender as is the case with contracts for Light Rail and Metro services.

There is provision for review of contracts and for making of payments to a public transport operator including financial and other incentive clauses for exceeding specified performance as well as penalties for noncompliance. The Authority may provide funding to support provision of transport services in respect of which public transport service contracts are entered.

There are special provisions in respect of public bus and rail passenger services in relation to which a public service obligation is to be applied under EU regulation.  The operator who is providing a public passenger transport service concerned must satisfy the provisions of EU regulations on public transport are applicable to such contract.  The provider is to satisfy the Authority that payments and costs are calculated in accordance with the mechanisms set out in that legislation.

The Authority may unilaterally alter a public service contract where it considers it necessary to do so for reasons of safety, efficiency, quality of service and transparency.

The arrangements with Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Irish Rail are provided for.  The three companies are granted exclusive rights to continue to provide the services subject to other provisions of law regarding rail and bus services.

In the case of bus passenger services, they are subject to bus route licence issued under the Road Transport Act 1932.

The Authority must enter into direct award contracts with the three companies in respect of services where they have an exclusive right.  Most contracts can be reviewed and subsequent contracts can be made.  A review of a direct award contract is mandated on the Authority where it establishes that the maintenance of the contract is no longer necessary.  In that case, where it is proposed to make subsequent direct contract awards, the Authority must invite submissions from interested parties before either renewing or replacing the contract.

Compensation paid by the Authority under direct award contracts must be calculated in accordance with the EU regulations.  The Minister may make directions in relation to provision of public transport services in order to achieve transport objectives or comply with EU legislations.

The Minister may designate a bus and rail services that are provided by Bus Éireann and Irish Rail outside the Greater Dublin area but which can be reasonably considered part of the GDAs transport system and the above provisions apply.  This provisions are no longer applicable since the Authority has now become the National Transport Authority.

The Authority may issue guidelines in relation to the making of public transport services contract.  It must review the operation of the provisions every five years or at the request of the Minister.

The Authority may provide public transport services where the operator fails to meet or is unable to meet the terms and conditions of a public transport services contract

Integration measures.

The Authority is to promote the use of public transport in the GDA.  It is to develop a single public transport brand for this purpose.  It may give binding directions to rolled authorities, CIE and its subsidiaries.  The Railway Procurement Agency and operators of Light Rail and Metro services with regard to the promotion of public transport and use of a single public transport brand.

Responsibility in respect of the development of an integrated ticketing scheme is transferred from the Railway procurement agent to the Authority.  It may be assigned to a third party by the Agency.

The Authority must give binding directions to public transport operators as it considers appropriate to participate in the ticketing scheme.  They may be required to install equipment and comply with other requirements.  There are similar provisions in respect of development of a fair scheme.

The Authority has power to develop information systems for public transport and road users in the Greater Dublin area.  It may give binding directions to public service operators, authorities, national road authorities and other information holders as it considers appropriate to provide information.

The Authority may require the owner and operator of a bus stop, bus stand, bus or railway station to have access to that facility by other public transport operator.  The Authority must consult interested parties before exercising power.  Conditions may be specified in including payment to the owner for use of the facility.

The Authority is to prepare a traffic management plan for the Greater Dublin area.  It is to set out measures to secure optimum of persons, goods and vehicles.  It is to include in particular steps to minimise impact from construction works relating to the provision of transport infrastructure and utility works.  It is to maintain and provide accessible routes for persons with disability.

Roads Authority in the GDA are to prepare local traffic plans for their area within six months of the publication of the strategic traffic management plan by the Authority.  They are to do so having regard to guidelines issued by the Authority.  The plan must be consistent with the strategic management plan made by the Authority.

The Authority may give binding directions to a road Authority, requiring it to take measures to facilitate implementation of a strategic traffic management plan.  This includes acquisition of lands, design and implementation of specified works and disbursement of revenue from parking.

The Authority may perform functions of a Roads Authority where the roads Authority fails to comply with a direction.

The Authority may require roads authorities to enter agreements with each other regarding traffic management or other matters relevant to the Authority’s functions.  It may specify the terms and conditions of the agreement.

The Authority is responsible for pursuing demand management measures.  It may give direction to public transports authorities to implement necessary measures.  It may issue guidelines to public authorities on implementation of demand measures.

The Authority may promote, undertake and fund researching in matters relevant to its functions including where undertaken by third party.  The Authority is responsible for compilation and publication of information, data and statistics relating to transports.  This may include travel time to work, satisfaction surveys etc.  The Authority has power to require third persons with the data and statistics to furnish the relevant information to them.

The Authority may give directions to the National Roads Authority requiring it to take action in order to give priority to public transport in situations where it considers that the NRA is acting in consistence with the Authority’s functions.  The Authority must consult with the NRA before giving it a direction.

The NRA is required to get the consent of the Authority before executing statutory powers in respect of toll roads.  The NRA and road authorities are to exercise their functions in a manner consistent with the Authority’s transport strategy.

Dublin Airport Authority and Harbours Authorities are required to obtain and consider the views of Authority before undertaking development at foot of a significant impact on the movement of goods and persons.  In exercising their functions, they must take account of the views of Road Safety Authority and the Commission for Taxi Regulation.  Those bodies must also have regard to the Authority’s views in exercising their functions.

The Authority may bring proceedings to prosecute summary offenses under the legislation.  The Authority may appoint authorised officers.  It is an offense to obstruct or impede or give false information to an authorised officer.

An authorised officer may serve notice on a public transport Authority or operator requiring production of records.  If it fails to do so, the Authority may apply to the High Court for an order requiring production.

The Planning and Development Act is amended to assure consistency between the Authority’s transport strategy and various plans and guidelines produced by planning authorities.

Planning authorities within the GDA must ensure that their development plan is consistent with the Authority’s transport strategy.  A manager of the planning Authority is to summarise the issues raised and recommendations made by the Authority at the various consultation phases when dealing with the draft development plan.  The manager must recommend at each stage how the Authority’s issues and recommendation shall be addressed.

There are similar inputs in relation to regional planning guidelines.  The Authority must have input into the Mideast and Dublin regional authorities.

It is a non-compensable ground for refusal of planning permission that development will be inconsistent with the Authority’s transport strategy.

The Authority may make a report as to whether or not the Authority’s transport strategy is consistent with the draft development.  It may be involved in the early stage in the preparation of development plans, regional planning guidelines and local area plan.  The Authority may issue a report to the planning Authority and regional authorities outlining issues to be addressed and recommendations concerning the integration of transport and land use planning.

The Act dissolves the Dublin Transportation Office.  Its functions in relation to strategic transport planning is transferred to the Authority.


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