Bus Services which Translink was Awarded Exclusive Rights Through Service Agreement (October 2015)

Owen McLaughlin made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland)

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Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland),

The October 2015 Service Agreement directly awarded Translink/the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company exclusive rights through a Service Agreement to operate all its bus and rail services as set out in Schedule A of the Service Agreement.

The Service Agreement, put in place with Translink in 2015, was developed following the provisions of the Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

To quote directly from the Service Agreement “The Department has decided that the Holding Company shall provide the public passenger transport including bus and rail services on the networks as set out in Schedule A and in accordance with the conditions herein.”

The definition of a ‘bus service’ was most recently confirmed in the Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 using the same wording as set out in the Finance Act (Northern Ireland) 1966. The definition states:
“bus service” means a service available to the general public for the carriage of passengers by road at separate fares, on which there is available to any passenger a journey of such length—

(i) that he is set down at a place less than 30 miles, measured in a straight line, from the place where he was taken up; and
(ii) that no point on the route between those places is 30 miles or more, measured in a straight line, from either of those places; and does not include any part of a service as regards which taken in isolation from the whole the aforesaid requirements as to the available length of journey are not satisfied;

I would like the Department to confirm whether all the exclusive rights (other than rail services) awarded to Translink for public transport services by road met the criteria to be classed as ‘bus services.’

I would also like the Department to provide a full list of all the public transport services by road for which Translink was awarded exclusive rights through the Service Agreement.

Yours faithfully,

Owen McLaughlin

DfI Bus Permits, Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland)

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr McLaughlin,

Please see attached acknowledgement of your request received on 20th July 2020.

Kind Regards,

Amy Law

Public Transport Regulation Branch,
Department for Infrastructure,
Clarence Court, Belfast.
02890 346237 - [email address]

DFI PTDDSO, Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland)

2 Atodiad

Mr. McLaughlin,

 

Please see attached.

 

Thanks

 

Geraldine Finnegan

Public Transport Division, Department for Infrastructure

Room 3-29

Clarence Court

Belfast

BT2 8GB

Telephone: 028 9054 0077

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear DFI PTDDSO,

The FOI request was for a full list of 'Bus Services which Translink was Awarded Exclusive Rights Through its Service Agreement (October 2015)' These ought to have been set out in Schedule A of the Agreement.

However, from first glance, there appear to be a significant number of services in the list supplied that would not seem to meet the definition of Public Passenger Transport Services as defined in Section 1(4) Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and, therefore, be the type of service that a Service Agreement ought to cover. (See below including but not limited to Private Hire, Specials, Tours, Shuttle Services, etc)

ú 777 Ulsterbus Special All Depots
ú 888 Private Hire All Depots
ú 920/921 Stena Terminal Europa
ú 923 Stena Terminal Europa
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 1 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 2 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 3 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 4 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 5 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 6 Coleraine
ú 664 Sprucefield Park (B&Q) - Lagan Valley Hospital FREE Shuttle Europa/Lisburn
ú Tour Auld Lammas Fair Europa/Lisburn
ú 687 Ballymena Football Shuttle Ballymena
ú 8007 Lisburn-Antrim Line Rail Sub Newtownabbey
ú 325M Lisburn Shuttle NIR-UB Lisburn
ú SHTL Tall Ships Shuttle All Depots
ú SHTL Cruise Ship Shuttle Service All Depots
ú 680 Maritime Festival Shuttle Cityside Londonderry
ú 681 Maritime Festival Shuttle Waterside Londonderry

A . Please review the list supplied and confirm whether or not the list provided contains any services other than those for which Exclusive Rights were directly awarded to Translink through the Service Agreement (October 2015).

B. If the list does contain any services that ought not to have been included, please provide a list of these together with an updated list of services for which Exclusive Rights were directly awarded to Translink through the Service Agreement (October 2015). Again, these ought to have been set out in Schedule A of the Agreement.

The list provided also contains a number of cross-border services. (See below including but not limited to)

1. X1X2 Belfast-Dublin Downpatrick/Europa/Lisburn/Newry
2. X261/261 Belfast-Dungannon-Enniskillen Dungannon
3. X3 Londonderry-Dublin Londonderry/Omagh
4. X4 Londonderr-Cookstown-Armagh-Dublin Londonderry

It is my understanding that, as per Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, a local authority cannot award Exclusive Rights to any cross-border service to any operator. Furthermore, it is explicit in Section 3 of the Service Agreement (Provision of Public Passenger Transport Services in Northern Ireland) that the Service Agreement ought to cover only services that operate within Northern Ireland.

C . Please review the list supplied and confirm the regulatory basis upon which the cross-border service licences were awarded and whether or not any Exclusive Rights were attached to the award.

Yours sincerely,

Owen McLaughlin

Law, Amy, Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland)

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr McLaughlin,

 

I’m emailing regarding your email below, and can confirm we are still
processing this request.

 

A response will issue as soon as possible. Thank-you for your patience in
this matter.

 

Kind Regards,

Amy Law

Public Transport Regulation Branch,

Department for Infrastructure,

Clarence Court, Belfast.

02890 346237 – [email address]

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

DFI PTDDSO, Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland)

1 Atodiad

Mr. McLaughlin,

 

Please see attached.

 

Thanks

 

Geraldine Finnegan

Public Transport Division, Department for Infrastructure

Room 3-29

Clarence Court

Belfast

BT2 8GB

Telephone: 028 9054 0077

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Dear Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland)'s handling of my FOI request 'Bus Services which Translink was Awarded Exclusive Rights Through Service Agreement (October 2015)'.

Firstly, the Department has sought to provide one response to 2 separate FOI requests. Secondly, the Department has ignored all the points raised and specific requests for information under the FOI Act.

The initial FOI request was for a full list of 'Bus Services which Translink was Awarded Exclusive Rights Through its Service Agreement (October 2015)' These ought to have been set out in Schedule A of the Agreement.

However, from first glance at what was initially provided, there appeared to be a significant number of services in the list supplied that would not seem to meet the definition of Public Passenger Transport Services as defined in Section 1(4) Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and, therefore, be the type of service that a Service Agreement ought to cover. (See below including but not limited to Private Hire, Specials, Tours, Shuttle Services, etc)

ú 777 Ulsterbus Special All Depots
ú 888 Private Hire All Depots
ú 920/921 Stena Terminal Europa
ú 923 Stena Terminal Europa
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 1 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 2 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 3 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 4 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 5 Coleraine
ú 663 Royal Portush Golf Open Shuttles Car Park 6 Coleraine
ú 664 Sprucefield Park (B&Q) - Lagan Valley Hospital FREE Shuttle Europa/Lisburn
ú Tour Auld Lammas Fair Europa/Lisburn
ú 687 Ballymena Football Shuttle Ballymena
ú 8007 Lisburn-Antrim Line Rail Sub Newtownabbey
ú 325M Lisburn Shuttle NIR-UB Lisburn
ú SHTL Tall Ships Shuttle All Depots
ú SHTL Cruise Ship Shuttle Service All Depots
ú 680 Maritime Festival Shuttle Cityside Londonderry
ú 681 Maritime Festival Shuttle Waterside Londonderry

Two specific requests for information were made (see below)

"A . Please review the list supplied and confirm whether or not the list provided contains any services other than those for which Exclusive Rights were directly awarded to Translink through the Service Agreement (October 2015)."

"B. If the list does contain any services that ought not to have been included, please provide a list of these together with an updated list of services for which Exclusive Rights were directly awarded to Translink through the Service Agreement (October 2015). Again, these ought to have been set out in Schedule A of the Agreement."

Your response did not address either of these points or requests for information.

The list provided also contained a number of cross-border services. (See below including but not limited to)

1. X1X2 Belfast-Dublin Downpatrick/Europa/Lisburn/Newry
2. X261/261 Belfast-Dungannon-Enniskillen Dungannon
3. X3 Londonderry-Dublin Londonderry/Omagh
4. X4 Londonderr-Cookstown-Armagh-Dublin Londonderry

It is my understanding that, as per Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, a local authority cannot award Exclusive Rights to any cross-border service to any operator. Furthermore, it is explicit in Section 3 of the Service Agreement (Provision of Public Passenger Transport Services in Northern Ireland) that the Service Agreement ought to cover only services that operate within Northern Ireland.

The response provided simultaneously confirmed that cross-border services were not included within the Service Agreement (and therefore Schedule A) while at the same time attempted to present the list of Ulsterbus services offered which included cross-border and the other services as a 'latest version' of Schedule A.

A further request for information was also made (see below):
"C . Please review the list supplied and confirm the regulatory basis upon which the cross-border service licences were awarded and whether or not any Exclusive Rights were attached to the award."

The response provided did not confirm the regulatory basis upon which the cross-border service licences were awarded.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

Yours faithfully,

Owen McLaughlin

DfI Information Management Unit, Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland)

2 Atodiad

Dear Mr McLaughlin

 

Please see the attached, issued on behalf of the DfI Departmental
Information Manager.

 

Thank you.

 

Hugh Murnaghan

DfI Information Management Unit