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Written Answers. - Free Travel Scheme.

Thursday, 28 March 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 463 No. 5

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 118. Mr. J. Walsh Information on Joe Walsh Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare Information on Prionsias De Rossa Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  if he will ensure that free travel will be available at all times during the day for old age pensioners. [6800/96]

Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): Information on Prionsias De Rossa Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa Time restrictions which have [1443] been a feature of the free travel scheme since its inception apply generally from 7 a.m. to 9.45 a.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Monday to Friday inclusive. They are necessary on city bus routes because the transport services concerned are under sever pressure from commuters travelling to or from work or school in the morning and evening and they would be unable to cope with the additional volume of passengers arising if the restrictions did not apply. They do not, however, apply in the case of mentally-handicapped people, people attending long-term rehabilitation courses and certain other disabled or blind people.

The removal of the current time restrictions would have significant cost implications for the transport companies involved who, in turn, would seek compensation from my Department. I understand, in any event, that companies such as Bus Éireann and Bus Atha Cliath would not be prepared to lift these restrictions, even if appropriate compensation was offered to them, because of the major passenger capacity constraints operating at those peak times of the day.


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