Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
218. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which bus services are available now or to become available in the rural hinterlands of Ardclough, Straffan and Rathcoffey, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62749/21]
219. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the extent to which public transport can link up the various rural areas throughout north County Kildare that do not currently have access to bus or rail transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62750/21]
220. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration will be given to a deviation from the present route of the bus services serving Johninstown and Maynooth to include Clonaugh in the same area thereby extending service to a wider community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62751/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 to 220, inclusive, together.
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.
It is the National Transport Authority (NTA) which has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. The NTA also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which operates under the TFI Local Link brand.
The Connecting Ireland plan is a major national public transport initiative developed by the NTA with the aim of increasing public transport connectivity, particularly for people living outside the major cities and towns. It will significantly increase both the number of routes and the frequency of existing services right across the country.
The Deputy will be pleased to learn that Connecting Ireland proposes to specifically expand the public transport network in rural areas and to increase service levels. Under Connecting Ireland, the NTA is proposing an overall increase of approximately 25% in rural bus services as part of the five year Connecting Ireland plan. Hundreds of rural villages and areas will for the first time be served by a viable public transport link.
I joined the NTA to launch its Connecting Ireland consultation which ran from 02 November to 10 December 2021.
I have referred the Deputy's questions to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.