Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Public Transport

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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1083. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for additional cleaning and disinfecting of commuter trains on the northern commuter line to specifically address Covid-19 concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6930/20]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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The Government has been clear that continued operation of the public transport sector is important, and it has been designated among the essential services that are to carry on. I would like to thank operators and staff for their continued dedication to providing this vital service in such challenging times.

A number of measures have been introduced across the system, guided by public health advice, to ensure the continued operation of services during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning regimes and social distancing measures across the network. My Department is engaging directly with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in relation to these measures and the NTA is coordinating the response of public transport operators, including Iarnród Éireann.

Accordingly, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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1084. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for additional cleaning and disinfecting of the Dublin Bus fleet to specifically address Covid-19 concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6931/20]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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The Government has been clear that continued operation of the public transport sector is important, and it has been designated among the essential services that are to carry on. I would like to thank operators and staff for their continued dedication to providing this vital service in such challenging times.

A number of measures have been introduced across the system, guided by public health advice, to ensure the continued operation of services during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning regimes and social distancing measures across the network. My Department is engaging directly with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in relation to these measures and the NTA is coordinating the response of public transport operators, including Dublin Bus.

Accordingly, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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1085. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for additional cleaning and disinfecting of the Bus Éireann fleet to specifically address Covid-19 concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6932/20]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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The Government has been clear that continued operation of the public transport sector is important, and it has been designated among the essential services that are to carry on. I would like to thank operators and staff for their continued dedication to providing this vital service in such challenging times.

A number of measures have been introduced across the system, guided by public health advice, to ensure the continued operation of services during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning regimes and social distancing measures across the network. My Department is engaging directly with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in relation to these measures and the NTA is coordinating the response of public transport operators, including Bus Éireann.

Accordingly, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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1086. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the supports available for private bus operators to ensure they can comply with safe distancing and other Covid-19 related recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6933/20]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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The Covid-19 emergency, and the necessary restrictions on public movement and the temporary closure of many workplaces, education centres and leisure and social activities across the country has meant that far fewer people than normal have been needing to use public transport.  Nonetheless, it remains a vital service for those it has continued to carry.  This is why Government designated public transport as an essential service during the emergency situation.  Public transport has served, and will continue to serve, a vital role in transporting essential workers and in supporting Government’s Roadmap to Reopening Society and Business in the weeks and months ahead.

Public health advices on social distancing are relevant across the public transport sector, and operators are implementing measures to facilitate adequate social distancing measures onboard;  this significantly reduces the carrying capacity of public transport services.

While the majority of public transport in Ireland is provided by the publicly-subvented bus and rail services funded through National Transport Authority's (NTA) public service obligation (PSO) programme, the public transport system also includes non-subvented bus services provided on a commercial basis by bus and coach businesses of varying size.  I understand that about 90% of the commercial bus operators have suspended their services or are providing significantly reduced services at present.

From my Department's engagement their representatives, and indeed from the NTA's regular engagement with them throughout, I understand the very difficult business environment that the commercial bus operators are now dealing with.  Indeed, across Government we are acutely aware that the Covid-19 situation presents huge challenges for very many business sectors.

That is why we have worked to introduce a wide programme of Government supports for impacted businesses.  The range of supports available includes new schemes of wage subsidies, rates waivers, re-start grants, lending facilities, equity injection, and business advisory supports for example.  I am engaging with my colleague, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation about these matters and am raising with her the concerns and situation of the commercial operators.

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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1087. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if there are specific instructions and supports for rail workers that will be assisting passengers with ramps and so on boarding and alighting from trains specifically regarding Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6934/20]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
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The Government has been clear that continued operation of the public transport sector is important, and it has been designated among the essential services that are to carry on. I would like to thank operators and staff for their continued dedication to providing this vital service in such challenging times.

A number of measures have been introduced across the system, guided by public health advice, to ensure the continued operation of services during the pandemic, including enhanced cleaning regimes and social distancing measures across the network. As the specific issue raised is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply.

Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

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