Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Public Service Obligation

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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41. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps being taken by him to improve subsidised Bus Éireann and PSO services in 2023, including funding for more buses and a further reduction of fares; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1370/23]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport; however, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally and for the scheduling and timetabling of these services in conjunction with the relevant transport operators.

Since 2010, the award of Public Service Obligation (PSO) funding falls under the independent statutory remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). The allocations to the transport operators for the provision of public transport services are decided by the NTA in exercise of its statutory mandate and in accordance with the various contract arrangements that it has in place with PSO service providers.

This Government is firmly committed to enhancing and expanding our public transport services provision across the country. To support this objective, in Budget 2023, I secured a €563million funding package to support the PSO services. Further a number of fare initiatives were introduced in 2022, such as the 20% average fare reduction on PSO services and the Young Adult Card, and funding has been provided in 2023 for the continuation of these initiatives. I can also confirm that funding of approximately €136m is being provided in 2023 for the purchase of new buses for Dublin Bus, Go Ahead and Bus Eireann PSO fleets.

In addition, the NTA also has responsibility for the regulation of fares charged to passengers in respect of public transport services provided under public service obligation (PSO) contracts.

The PSO programme represents a significant expenditure of taxpayers' money, and funding has increased in recent years to cater for additional services and growing capacity. Any assessment of a proposed change to public transport fare structures would be a matter for the NTA to consider in the first instance.

Therefore, in light of the NTA's responsibility in these matters, I have forwarded the Deputy's question in relation to the improvement of subsidised Bus Éireann and PSO services in 2023, to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.


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