EU regulations provide for a road passenger transport operator’s licence. This applies to an operator who carries passengers for reward in vehicles with accommodation for more than nine persons, including the driver. A licence must be held. Applicants for the licence must satisfy requirements in relation to financial standing, good repute, professional competence, and other requirements.
There is provision for certificates of competence on the basis of at least five years of practical experience at the management level for persons in road passenger transport operation. There are provisions regarding cessation of the business death or incapacity.
A certificate of professional competence must be held by drivers, or they must hold a corresponding certificate issued by other EU states.
An international road passenger transport operator’s licence authorises an undertaking to engage in the business both within or between states. A national licence is limited to road passenger transport operations within the State.
It is unlawful for a person to engage in road passenger transport operation or to carry passengers from reward or hire unless he holds the requisite road passenger transport operator’s licence, be it national or international. The restrictions do not apply
- to passengers to and from work in vehicles owned by their employers.
- carriage persons to and from school in the course of school activities in the vehicle owned by the school.
- carriage of passengers otherwise than for reward.
The requirement to hold the road passenger transport operator’s licence under EU legislation is in addition to the obligation to hold the licence under the Irish road transport legislation and the legislation in respect of public service vehicles.
Failure to have the requisite licence is an offence which may be prosecuted in the District Court. Where more than nine persons are being carried in a vehicle, it is presumed until the contrary is shown that they are being carried for reward.
Where a change occurs in the vehicle’s fleet operated under a licence by way of a decrease or increase in the number of vehicles, the holder must notify the Minister of such occurrence. Failure to do so is an offence.
A licence may be revoked or suspended. The notice must be given, and the reasons for it must be together with a 21-day period in which an application may be made to the Minister to review the decision. Upon application for review a new decision may be substituted if this is appropriate on the facts.
If a decision to refuse an application is made or to suspend and revoke the licence, there is a provision for appeal to the District Court within 21 days. The court may confirm or annul the decision.
A register is maintained of road transport operator’s licences. The registers are open for inspection by any person on payment of an appropriate fee. It is possible to obtain a copy of an entry of the register.
Documents purporting to be copies of entries are presumptive proof in legal proceedings of the truth of their content. Changes in the names or addresses of details of persons registered must be notified within two months. Contravention is an offence.
Production of Licence
Where a mechanically propelled vehicle is about to be used for the carriage of passengers, engaged in the occupation of road passenger transport operation the person engaged must deliver to the driver a copy of the licence or a copy. Failure to do so is an offence.
A member of Garda Síochána may require the production of the licence or a copy. Failure to produce is an offence. Similarly, failure to allow the member of an Garda Síochána to take copy and examine the document is an offence.
There are offences in relation to making false declarations in connection with an application for a licence. It is an offence both for the transport company as well as its directors, manager and secretaries and other persons who may equally be prosecuted.
The European Communities (International Carriage of Passengers) Regulation deals with international carriage of passengers. There are certain exemptions from the requirement for a domestic licence subject to conditions. The agreement on the international carriage of passengers by road by means of occasional coach and bus services provides for certain exemptions.
A person may not carry out international passenger operations by coach and bus unless he is a holder of a community licence. Breach of legislation is an offence.Authorizations must conform to a model provided for in the regulation. Each vehicle carrying a service authorization must keep onboard an authorization and a copy certified by the licensing authority.
The licence holder must comply with criteria laid out in the legislation. There are obligations to guarantee a transport service which fulfils standards of continuity, regulation and capacity and complies with other conditions in the legislation.
The carrier must display the route of the service timetable, fare, and conditions of the carriage so far are not laid down by law. Changes may be agreed upon by the member state. There are provisions in respect of occasional services.
There are regulations providing for the licensing of road transport services by non-resident persons out of a place of establishment within the state.
A carrier shall not operate road passenger transport services for reward unless he is a holder of a community licence. Carriers must comply with certain conditions. Community licences must be kept onboard and be available for inspection by authorized officers.
Cabotage & Documents
Cabotage transport operations in the form of occasional services must be carried out under a control document. This journey form must be kept onboard the vehicle and be produced to authorized officers. The journey form must provide details of departures and destination and dates of departure. The model journey form is laid out in the legislation.
In the case of special regular services, the contract between the carrier and transport organizer should serve as the control document. The journey form must be completed in the form of a monthly statement. It must be returned to the competent authority in accordance with procedures laid down by it.
The book is to be made out in the name of the carrier. It must be filled in legible letters in duplicate by the carrier or driver for each journey prior to the departure. A top copy is retained in the vehicle, and the copy is retained in the company’s base. The carrier is responsible for keeping the journey form.
In the case of international occasional services provided by group carriers acting on behalf of the same contractor, the original of the journey form must be kept in the vehicle and a copy of the journey form should be kept to the base of each carrier.
The journey form will enable the holder in the course of international occasional services to carry out local excursions in member states other than that in which it is established in accordance with conditions. The control document must be presented to any enforcement official on request.
Licences & Transport Discs
A road freight carrier’s licence or a road passenger transport operator’s licence is to have a five year term. It may be revoked or suspended by the Minister during its currency subject to procedures.
The holder of a road freight carrier’s licence or road passenger transport operator’s licence shall ensure adequate parking space at its operating premises are provided from the State for the vehicle is being operated or intended to be operated. This is deemed a condition of the licence.
The Minister shall on application issue transport discs in respect of road freight carrier’s licence, road passenger transport operator’s licence or a community licence for each vehicle operated. The application is in such form and accompanied by such fee as is prescribed. It is valid for up to five years. There is provision for replacement where it is lost, worn out etc.
No person shall operate a vehicle for the carriage of passengers under a road passenger transport operator’s licence or merchandise under a road freight carrier’s licence unless a transport disc has been issued.
Where a transport disc has been issued, no person shall operate the vehicle unless the disc is displayed in accordance with instructions issued in relation to the disc. It may not operate the vehicle if the disc is worn or defaced.
Where a vehicle in respect of which a disc has been issued ceases to be used in connection with the operation by the holder of a licence, it is to be returned to the Minister. Contravention is an offence.
The Minister may make regulations in relation to the transport of discs. The provisions of the principal legislation applicable to vehicle plates apply to transport discs.
It is an offence to alter a licensing document or to engage in the carriage or goods or passengers while in possession of an altered or forged document.
The Road Traffic and Transport Act 2006 makes provision for granting licences to road haulage and road transport operators.
An international road passenger transport operator’s licence entitles the holder to carry on a road passenger transport business for hire or reward within the State and qualifies the holder to carry on a road passenger transport business outside the state may be granted to such vehicles as may be specified.
A national road passenger transport operator’s licence that entitles the holder to carry on a road passenger transport business for hire or reward within the State may be granted for such vehicles as may be specified. An applicant for the above licences must satisfy the Minister that he is of good repute, established in the state, and has appropriate financial standing and professional competence in accordance with EU regulation.
There is provision for withdrawal and suspension of the licence if the Minister believes any of the above conditions have ceased to be complied with.
The Minister may attach terms and conditions to an operator’s licence, which may include conditions relating to
- vehicle safety,
- maintenance and standards,
- duties and responsibilities of transport managers,
- environmental standards,
- operational safety standards,
- driving and working time,
- employment conditions and contracts,
- vehicles ownership,
- vehicle registration,
- taxation, tachygraphy,
- notification of changes, etc.
Examination & Competence
Where a person has been authorised to organise and certify examination in professional competence in accordance with EU road transport operators’ regulations, the Minister shall fix the fees to be paid directly to that person in order
- to sit the examination,
- for the provision of training,
- for the approval of a trainer not directly engaged by that person or
- for the grant of a certificate or professional competence.
There are offences of false declarations in relation to licensing applications. It is an offence subject on summary conviction to a class A fine or indictment to a fine up to €50,000.
There are provisions whereby officers, directors, managers, in the case of body corporates committing offences are liable to be prosecuted in the same manner.
A transport manager shall
- hold an appropriate certificate of professional competence shall be of good repute and
- have attained the age of 18 years be designated by an operator as a transport manager by notice in writing and
- be engaged continuously and effectively managing the transport operations of the operator.
The Road Transport Act 2011 provided certain further obligations in the area of road transport. Where an operator holding specified positions or a person who is, in fact, operator or shadow operator or in the case of a road passenger transport operator, a driver with that operator has been convicted of any serious offences as set out [murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking, nonfatal offences against the person, legal sexual offences, theft and fraud offences, firearms offences], the operator must notify the Minister of the fact of conviction at the time the application for Licences is being made.
The notification is to include details of the offence, penalty imposed, disqualification or forfeiture imposed. It is to state whether the offence was committed in the course of the road transport business. The notification obligations apply on expiry of the relevant appeal period.
Failure to make the notification or notification of information knowing it to be false and misleading may allow the Minister to determine that the requirement of good repute is no longer satisfied is an offence to notify false information, failed to notify subject on summary conviction to a class A fine or imprisonment of six years, six months or an indictment up to three years and €500,000 fine.
If a person who holds the specified position of a shadow operator or a driver in the case of a road passenger transport operation who has been convicted of an offence must inform the operator in writing of the conviction and its details. Failure to do so is an offence subject to the same punishment equivalent to the above.
In determining whether the operator has satisfied or continues to satisfy the requirements of good repute, the Minister may consider whether or not the operator or person who holds this specified position, shadow operator or driver has been convicted of an offence. Where he has been convicted of an offence, the
Minister shall consider the nature of the offence, number of convictions, penalty, disqualification, forfeiture and whether it was committed in the course of business. Where the Minister determines it would not be a disproportionate response, he may determine that the requirement of good repute is no longer satisfied, and the application may be refused, or the licence withdrawn or suspended.
Where the Minister refuses or proposes to withdraw or suspend a licence, he should give 21 days’ notice to the operator affected and may consider representations made. After considering the representations, he may make a decision. The applicant may appeal the matter to the District Court. The District Court may uphold or change the decision.
There was provision for evidence of convictions outside the State. A certificate by a relevant authority is presumptive evidence.
Production of Licence & Changed Circumstances
To enable the Minister to satisfy himself that any requirement necessary to obtain an operator’s licence is or continues to be satisfied, the Minister may request in writing to the operator at any time to provide such information as the Minister thinks fit in such format as i’s requested. The Minister may refuse to grant, withdraw, or suspend an operator’s licence where a request has not been complied with.
The operator’s licence remains the property of the Minister. Where it is withdrawn or suspended, the operator shall on request return it to the Minister together with ancillary or other documentation issued with the licence. Failure to do so is an offence subject on summary conviction to a class C fine.
Where there is a change in an operator’s vehicles or circumstances that would cause the operator to no longer meet the requirements necessary to obtain an operator’s licence, the operator shall notify the Minister in writing if that occurrence is possible but in any event within a month. Failure to do so is an offence.
Save are provided by the Act or otherwise by law, the person shall not engage in the operation of a road haulage operator without a road haulage operator’s licence. a road passenger transport operator without a road passenger transport operator’s Licence.
A person shall not engage the services of any person for the carriage by road of persons or vehicles unless that person is holder of a requisite operator’s licence, or the carriage is exempted. Contravention is an offence subject on summary conviction to a class A fine and up to six months imprisonment or an indictment up to €500,000 or three years imprisonment.
A person shall not describe himself or hold himself as carrying on a road transport business as he holds the appropriate licence or community licence to authorise him to do so. He shall not hold himself as carrying out as holding a licence for a business other than that for which he actually holds the licence.
There is an obligation to carry a copy of the operator’s licence and display the transport disc on the vehicle. Contravention is an offence subject on conviction to a class B fine.
Administration & Enforcement
A member of an Garda Siochana or transport officer may demand of any person driving a vehicle which he believes to be engaged in road transport operations, the production for inspection of a vehicle operator’s licence or a certified copy of the community Licence. Failure to produce the same is an offence subject on conviction to a class B fine.
The transport disc must be displayed on a vehicle to which it relates in a manner which may be inspected by a transport officer or member of a, Garda Siochana. Failure to do so is an offence subject on summary conviction to a class B fine.
The Minister may establish registers of certificates of professional competence and operator’s licence in such form including electronic form as the Minister shall determine. The register shall be open at all reasonable times for inspection to any person and may be published on the internet free of charge. A person shall be entitled to obtain a certified copy entry and that shall be proof in legal proceeding.
The Minister may prescribe by regulations fees in respect of the application, grant, amendment, duplication or replacement of licensing documentation.
The Road Transport Act 1932 provides for the licensing of scheduled coach and bus services. Many of the regulations have been superseded by the EU regulations above.
A road passenger service is a service of one or more mechanically propelled vehicle travelling mainly on public roads and carrying passengers whether with luggage, merchandise, mails or otherwise between specified terminal points along a specified route or otherwise for separate charges for each passenger.
A passenger road service business requires a licence. Failure to have the requisite licence is an offence subject to summary conviction.
There have been a number of cases on breaches of the licensing requirement. Where there are separate payment for hire rather than hire of the entire vehicle there is likely to be a road passenger service.
Fares and Conditions of Use
Regulations are made under the Road Transport Act 1950. The byelaws make requirements in relation to the use of buses recording and altering fare interference with vehicles, carriage of items, passenger behaviour, committing of nuisance and enforcement.
The legislation provided on-the-spot fines in lieu of prosecution under the Road Transport Act. And under EU regulations. A member of An Garda Síochána or transport officer may give a notice to the effect that a prescribed offence has happened. If payment is made, no prosecution is instituted.