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Road Users

Vehicle standards for buses

Types of buses and your obligations to maintain safety standards as a bus operator. 

Buses are vehicles which are designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver. 

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

There are two categories of bus

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M2 - Bus

A small bus which can carry more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and has a maximum mass not exceeding five tonnes.

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M3 - Bus

A large bus which can carry more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and has a maximum mass exceeding five tonnes. 


Buying a used bus

If you’re considering buying a used bus you should visit our Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing (CVRT) website for advice.

You will also find more information about vehicle safety features here


Maintaining and repairing your bus

As the owner or operator of a bus it's very important to always keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition. 

All bus operators must ensure buses are roadworthy.  They must: 

Aside from the road safety benefits and it being your legal obligation, well maintained buses reduce the likelihood of your bus encountering delays from unscheduled downtime, unsafe buses being impounded and additional delays at roadside inspections. 

You can find out more on the CVRT vehicle maintenance and repairs website. 


Walkaround checks

Our  Daily Walkaround Checks webpage highlights the importance and benefits of daily walkaround checks and your obligations as a bus driver.

Driving for work

Driving for work involves a risk not only for the driver, but also for fellow workers and members of the public, such as pedestrians and other road users. 

Our Driving For Work website offers advice on helping make driving for work safer for everyone.

You can also find more information from CVRT on how the proper maintenance of your bus and regular walkaround checks makes driving for work safer.


Other useful links and information

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Hiring a bus

If you’re hiring a bus, you must make sure it is safe for you and your passengers. You can find out more information from CVRT. 

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Public service vehicle (PSV) permit 

There are times when a public service vehicle may not fully meet Irish road traffic regulations e.g. emergency door layout. Find out more on this here.

 

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Bus roadworthiness testing

Find out why your vehicle needs a CVR test and how to book one.

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Vehicle components

Find out more information about vehicle components including seatbelts, tyres, lighting, windscreen and glazing.

Vehicle legislation

Get answers to questions on vehicle legislation

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Vehicle modifications

Advice and information on converting or modifying a vehicle

Weights and dimensions

We have published guidelines for the weights and dimensions of vehicles in use on Irish roads. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Buses

If you have any concerns about the condition of a bus provided, do not use it and email commercial vehicle enforcement section at [email protected]. School buses are required to be roadworthiness tested every year and meet a number of compliance requirements. Under road traffic law it is ultimately the responsibility of the bus operator to ensure that the vehicle being used is safe, roadworthy, and properly maintained at all times when in use. Failure to do so can result in prosecution.

S.I. No. 192 of 2017 of Road Traffic (Large Public Service Vehicles) (Licencing) Regulations 2017 are now effective which means that where a vehicle has been granted type approval, such vehicles are deemed to have met the criteria to qualify for a LPSV licence from An Garda Síochána. For further information see Section 6.1.3 of HCV Manual.

Yes. It is the legal responsibility of the owner and driver of a vehicle or combination of vehicles to ensure that when it is used in a public place, it is in such a condition that it is not liable to endanger other road users. Enforcement of road traffic regulations is a matter for the Gardaí. See table for fines and penalties.

We do not specify the contents of first aid kits for vehicles. For information on see HSA document Guidelines on First Aid at Places of Work 2008.

No.  A standee permit allows for an exemption from this provision. In order to gain exemption, you will need to apply for a standee permit. However, there is a requirement for an omnibus travelling on a scheduled route of 15 miles or more to carry a first aid kit.

Yes, however they are speed limited to 65 km/h.

Yes.

From a type approval perspective, standards for buses are set out in Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 – General Safety Regulations. Annex IV sets out the relevant UNECE Regulation number 107 (Category M2 & M3) which has various series of amendments.

Once vehicles are in service, they must adhere to the requirements set out under   S.I. No.190 of 1963 of the Road Traffic Construction, Equipment & Use of Vehicles Regulations.

Small public service vehicles (SPSVs)

It is a ‘small public service vehicle’ that can carry up to eight passengers and is used for hire or reward e.g., taxis, hackneys, wheelchair accessible taxis and wheelchair accessible hackneys and limousines.

Yes. Both the vehicle and the driver need a licence. You will need to contact the National Transport Authority ( NTA) for more information.

Under the Taxi Regulation Act 2013, the NTA is the regulator of all SPSVs in Ireland.

If you are considering fitting your vehicle with perspex panels or any other physical barriers during the Covid19 pandemic, you should contact the vehicle’s original manufacturer or authorised distributor. They are best placed to advise if there are any safety implications or if it is possible to carry out the proposed fitting without affecting the performance of the vehicle’s safety features, e.g. airbags etc.

You must also ensure that such any installation does not present a danger to the driver, occupants or any other road user. It is important to remember that, under Irish road traffic regulations it is the responsibility of the owner and or driver to ensure that their vehicle is maintained in a roadworthy condition at all times when used in a public place.

Glazing for motor vehicles must meet with the requirements of UNECE Regulation 43 - Uniform provisions concerning the approval of safety glazing materials and their installation on vehicles. This Regulation sets out standards for safety glazing materials intended for installation as windscreens or other panes, or as partitioning. Below is an extract taken from this regulation regarding the general requirements for safety glazing;

General Requirements

6.1. All glazing materials, including glazing material for the manufacture of windscreens, shall be such that, in the event of shattering, the danger of bodily injury is reduced as far as possible. The glazing material shall be sufficiently resistant to the incidents likely to occur in normal traffic, and to atmospheric and temperature conditions, chemical action, combustion and abrasion.

6.2. Safety glazing materials shall in addition be sufficiently transparent, shall not cause any noticeable distortions of objects as seen through the windscreen, and shall not give rise to any confusion between the colours used in road-traffic signs and signals. In the event of the windscreen's shattering, the driver shall still be able to see the road clearly enough to be able to brake and stop his vehicle safely.

Please note the regular light transmittance in the case of a windscreen and other glazing that is located in a position requisite for driving visibility shall not be less than 70%.

It should be noted that if such panels or glazing is being fitted to a vehicle that is used for ‘hire and reward’ i.e. commercial purposes it is classed as a work place environment and will be governed by health and safety legislation. It may be useful to contact the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for information on additional health and safety / legal obligations that arise on this issue.

For more information please see the the HSE Coronavirus- COVID-19 Public Health Advice and Guidance at https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html

Yes. SPSVs under 10 years of age must be tested every year and those 10 years or older must be tested every six months. The NTA cannot grant an SPSV licence without a valid NCT certificate less than 90 days old. A vehicle under three months of age that has travelled less than 3,000 km does not need an NCT. See NTA website for more information.

The NCT is a basic check on the roadworthiness of the vehicle.

The Suitability Test examines whether the SPSV is suitable to carry passengers e.g., if it is it clean, a suitable size to carry passengers, all the relevant passenger information displayed etc.

The seatbelt regulations state that a driver is responsible for ensuring that people under the age of 17 wear their seat belt. Anyone over this age is responsible for their own safety and commit an offence if they refuse to wear a seat belt where one is fitted and operating properly.

No. There is no legal requirement for SPSVs to carry child car seats.

Yes. Under S.I. No. 190 of 1963 of Road Traffic Construction, Equipment and Use Regulations 1963 are required to carry a number of pieces of safety equipment. See Forms and Guides in Initial Suitability Inspection Manual on NTA website for further details ww.nta.ie  

Yes. It is a requirement under Article 79 of S. I. No. 190 of 1963 of Road Traffic Construction, Equipment and Use Regulations 1963.

General road traffic law requires that the front windscreen and front door side glass be clear. For limousines, the remaining glass may be dark. All other SPSV windows next to a passenger must be clear i.e., allow at least 70% light transmission. See Forms and Guides in Initial Suitability Inspection Manual.

Wheelchair accessible taxis and hackneys are SPSVs that are able to carry a person travelling in their wheelchair. Strict standards are in place in relation to the specialist equipment, the structural integrity and the space provided. Prior to licensing all vehicles must be certified by a qualified technical assessor. For more information see Forms and Guides in Initial Suitability Inspection Manual.

There are restrictions on advertising permitted on all types of SPSV vehicles:

  • It is illegal to have any inessential object on a vehicle that is in a position where it is likely to strike any person in the event of a collision and cause injury.
  • If the driver’s view of the road and other traffic either to the front or side of the vehicle is limited or distorted by advertising signage that prevents them from driving safely then this is also illegal and should be removed.

See Initial Suitability Inspection Manual for further information.