Operating a bus service in Northern Ireland

Commercial Bus Service Permits

You need a Commercial Bus Service Permit from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to operate a public passenger transport service in Northern Ireland. These are additional to the network of services provided by Translink.

The types of service which need a Service Permit are:

  • Regular Stopping Services
  • Express Services
  • Sightseeing Services
  • Demand Responsive services
  • Event-specific Services
  • Taxibus Services

The types of services which DO NOT require a Service Permit are:

  • Tours
  • Private Hire Services
  • Shuttle-bus Services

DfI will consider Service Permit applications according to:

  • the suitability of the route
  • any other ongoing or previous applications
  • how the needs of people likely to use the service are currently catered for
  • the effect that granting a Service Permit would have on other Permit holders or the contracted network
  • the need to ensure fair competition

Download a Commercial Bus Service Permit application form (PDF, 150K).

Download an application to amend a Commercial Bus Service Permit form (PDF, 72K).

Find more details on the application process - download Commercial Bus Service Permit guidelines (PDF, 488K).