Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Public Transport Provision
530. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of train stations, including names and addresses, in which there are accessibility issues for persons with mobility impairments; his plans to make these train stations accessible; the timeframe he expects it will take to implement such a plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35852/16]
Accessibility is a fundamental consideration when developing the public transport network and accessibility features are built in to all new infrastructure projects. With regard to existing infrastructure, there is an on-going programme to upgrade public transport infrastructure and facilities to help improve transport accessibility across the country. The programme is managed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) on behalf of my Department. I acknowledge that there is still work to be done in this regard and with this in mind, my Department is committed to undertaking a review of our Sectoral Plan in the near future. I understand that at present at least 84 out of the 143 railway stations on the Iarnród Éireann network have received accessibility upgrades or were constructed new to accessibility standards. Accessibility upgrades are planned for several stations in 2017 and recently construction works commenced at Rathdrum, Mullingar and Leixlip Louisa Bridge stations. Some lightly used stations may not be fully upgraded and instead, passengers with mobility impairments within the catchment area of these stations will continue to be facilitated by Iarnród Éireann through the provision of a taxi or hackney to the nearest accessible station; this is arranged at a local level.
While there is still considerable work to be done, I think it is important to note that a lot of progress has been made, and continues to be made, in relation to accessibility within the Public Transport Sector. Currently:
The Luas network is 100% accessible, as will be the Luas Cross City route once complete;
The Dublin Bus fleet is 100% wheelchair accessible;
The Bus Eireann City Fleet is 100% wheelchair accessible;
Approximately 80% of the Bus Eireann Coach fleet is wheelchair accessible; this figure will increase as older vehicles are replaced;
Nearly 60% of the railway stations on the heavy rail network have received accessibility upgrades or were constructed to accessibility standards.
Noting the NTA's responsibility for the administration of the accessibility funding programme for existing public transport infrastructure, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a more detailed reply. Please advise my private office if you don't receive a reply within 10 working days.