Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
122. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she plans to extend the free travel scheme to cover ferry boats (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53472/21]
The free travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme. These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as Luas and services provided by over 80 private transport operators. There are currently approximately 1,010,000 customers with direct eligibility. The estimated expenditure on free travel in 2021 is €95 million.
I understand that the free travel pass is accepted on a number of ferry routes that operate from Doolin pier to the Aran Islands.
Any private transport operators can apply to participate in the free travel scheme and can determine which of the route/s they operate to include. However, there is no obligation on them to do so. Neither I as Minister nor the Department can require any operator to participate or include any particular route.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.