EU regulations regulate the business of road transport operators. The purpose is to provide EU wide rules and a level playing field for businesses. The Department of Transport is the regulator in Ireland. An operators licence is an authorisation to pursue the occupation of road transport operator under the regulations.

There are training competence and finance requirements applicable. The transport managers to have certain qualifications and competence. There are ongoing compliance obligations. Breaches an offence.

In deciding whether to grant a licence for continuing existing licence regard is had to

  • reputation of the operator
  • conduct of the operator or other key persons which may call into question their suitability to hold an operators licence
  • suitability of the transport managers having regard to conduct
  • previous infringements
  • previous offences
  • previous breaches of conditions
  • need to ensure safety and welfare of other users of the road
  • representations received
  • other relevant information

A community (EU) licence authorises an operator to operate throughout the EU. They would be obliged to comply with general road traffic and regulation of states in which the business is undertaken and through which they drive. Officers of  the Department of Transport as well as members of an Garda Siochana have powers under the legislation to make appropriate checks requirements and verify compliance.

The Public Transport Regulation Act 2009 provides for the licensing of public bus passenger services. The licence specifies the routess and the conditions. The may be conditions regarding scheduling and frequency of the operation of the service.

The categories of public bus passenger service licences are provided for. The authority provides for the period of validity which is a maximum of five years. An application is made for renewal.

There are provisions to deal with the death of a licence holder which permit the personal representative to carry on the business for a limited period.There is provision for transfer of licences. An application is made to the Department.

License may be revoked on various grounds including in particular conviction of offences under that legislation. A notice of intention p to revoke is given. Submissions may be made which are taken into account.

The merchandise road transport legislation is older legislation dealing with the carriage of goods. Generally a licence is required under the legislation to operating merchandise road transport business or to carry merchandising the state there are certain limited exceptions. They include

  • carriage of produce in vehicles less than 2.5 tons unladen 6 tonnes laden
  • carriage of cattle sheep or pigs
  • carriage of newly harvested wheat malts and barley from a farm to a place of storage processing or assembly in the period first August to 1st December
  • carriage of milk and milk containers to a cream Murray or cream separating centre
  • certain carriage of turf
  • carriage of livestock for persons living within 2 miles to from a farm livestock auction marked under certain conditions
    within a radius of 20 miles

Breach of the legislation is an offence

Vehicles licensed under the merchandise road transport legislation must exhibit a prescribed plate which is is visible and can be inspected. Failure to do so is an offence.

A contract for the carriage by road of goods for reward is invalid unless the holder has a road carriers licence or the carriage falls into one of the excepted categories for which a licence is not required. Breaches also an offence.

The drivers of merchandise licensed vehicles must carry the licence. Failure to do so is an offence. A member of Garda Siochana may demand production. Failure to produce is an offence.

Bye laws may be made in relation to the travel bus services. Contravention of the bylaws is an offence. The bye laws provide rules in relation to

  • conduct in boarding, on and in alighting from a vehicle
  • behaviour while on board
  • interference with vehicles
  • duties of passengers
  • things brought onto vehicle
  • payment of fares and tickets
  • enforcement procedures

The road traffic legislation contains several provisions on driving hours in respect of driving not covered by the EU wide legislation. The rules are broadly similar in terms of hours which may be driven.

(Railways) it is an offence to fail to shut the gates at certain level crossings. The subject on summary conviction to a fine up to €1000.

The Convention on the International Carriage of Goods by Road made law in Ireland .

A transport disc is required in relation to a road passenger transport vehicle. It is an offence to fail to display the disc while the vehicle is being operated.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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