Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Public Transport Subsidies
1011. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if public transport will be sufficiently funded to provide an efficient, frequent train and bus service and to meet the requests of unions representing the workforce with immediate effect. [6278/20]
The Government has been clear that continued operation of the public transport sector is important, and has been designated it among the essential services that have been able to carry on during the Covid-19 emergency. I would like to thank operators and staff who have been involved in continuing this essential service.
Throughout, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the public transport operators are closely following the public health advices. In line with the public health advices, they are implementing a number of measures across the public transport system for enhanced cleaning regimes and to facilitate appropriate social distancing.
The sharp decline in passenger numbers since mid-March as a result of the Covid-19 health emergency has caused an unprecedented fall in fare revenues, thus creating a wide gap between costs and actual revenues. This is putting acute pressure on the existing Public Service Obligation (PSO) budget. However, it is clear that public transport is an essential service and that it is an important facilitator of the Government's Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.
So I have been clear that we will ensure that the PSO is appropriately funded. To that end, my Department is working closely with the NTA to quantify the additional funding requirements for the coming months, and we are engaging positively with relevant colleagues across Government in that respect.