Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Bus Services

Photo of Claire KerraneClaire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

162. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on a second operator (details supplied) pulling out of the Galway to Dublin route from April; if he is concerned at bus routes being pulled at a time when people are being encouraged to use public transport; his plans to ensure greater public transport options for rural communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13361/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

As Minister for Transport, I am responsible for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. However, I am not involved in day-to-day operational matters. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally and for the scheduling of those services in conjunction with the relevant transport operators.

While most public transport in Ireland comprises the bus and rail services funded through the NTA’s public service obligation (PSO) programme, there is part of the national public transport system that comprises non-subvented bus services, which are run on a commercial basis by bus and coach businesses of varying sizes throughout the country. As a commercial operator, any decisions taken by Aircoach regarding routes scheduling and timetabling are a matter for the company, the NTA has no powers to refuse an application from an operator to reduce or withdraw services on a commercial route.

In circumstances where a commercial operator ceases operating a specific route, such as Aircoach route 706/706X, the NTA undertakes an examination to determine whether, with the discontinuation of the commercial service, it is necessary for a replacement PSO service to be introduced to ensure no loss of connectivity to the travelling public. This process includes an assessment of the level of demand for public transport services in the affected area, an evaluation of whether existing PSO services can be reconfigured to meet any shortfall, or whether it is necessary to competitively tender for the provision of services.

Given the NTA's statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally, I have also forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.