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Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 61. Mr. S. Ryan Information on Seán Ryan Zoom on Seán Ryan  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the specific proposals the Government has for the upgrading of the bus fleets and the provision of bus priorities in Dublin and other cities in regard to the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government; if money has been allocated for this purpose in his Department's Estimates for 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23459/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan There has been a major programme of upgrading of the bus fleets in Dublin and the provincial cities which has helped to enhance the quality of such services. In the case of Dublin, 484 buses have been purchased in recent years, of which 241 are replacement and 243 are additional. In the provincial cities, the entire regular urban bus fleet of Bus Éireann in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford is now low floor. In respect of 2003, I am awaiting proposals from Dublin Bus for additional fleet capacity.

One of my priorities for the public transport sector is to continue to improve the position of buses as regards traffic priority. For Dublin, the Dublin Transportation Office, DTO, receives a grant from my Department for traffic management and bus priority measures throughout the greater Dublin area, GDA. It is now the responsibility of the Office of the Director of Traffic in Dublin City Council to implement bus priority measures based on a programme of work and project specification agreed with the DTO.

To date, nine QBCs have been implemented in the Dublin area, amounting to approximately 100 km of bus priority. Extensions to existing QBCs and additional QBCs and bus priority measures are planned for the coming years.

My Department has also been supporting the development of bus priority in the main cities outside of Dublin through its representation on the steering committees for land use and transportation studies which are at various stages of completion in Galway, Limerick and Waterford. All these studies deal with the issue of providing bus priority measures. Preliminary studies of two green routes in Cork have already been com[155] missioned by the city council, and my Department will provide funding for the carrying out of this work in 2003.

The construction of QBCs in Dublin is primarily funded by my Department through traffic management grants administered by the DTO. There is a €40 million provision in the Estimates for 2003 for the funding for traffic management measures.

 62. Mr. Crawford Information on Seymour Crawford Zoom on Seymour Crawford  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the measures which he intends to take to increase bus competition. [23512/02]

 70. Mr. Hogan Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  his plans for bus deregulation. [23510/02]

 102. Mr. S. Ryan Information on Seán Ryan Zoom on Seán Ryan  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  if he will make a statement on the recent consultant's report on the regulation of bus services outside of the Dublin area. [23460/02]

 103. Mr. English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  when he intends to deregulate the bus sector. [23511/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I propose to take Questions Nos. 62, 70, 102 and 103 together.

I refer the Deputies to my replies to Questions Nos. 49 and 53 which cover the matters raised.

 63. Dr. Upton Information on Mary Upton Zoom on Mary Upton  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  if he is considering the introduction of a road pricing system for motorists in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23461/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan There are no proposals at present to introduce road pricing as a means of managing demand for transport and reducing traffic congestion in urban areas, including Dublin.

The Dublin Transportation Office's transport strategy for 2000 to 2016 for the greater Dublin area, A Platform for Change, is based on two interdependent elements: demand management and public transport infrastructure-service improvements, and will be reinforced by complementary land use policies. The strategy aims to reduce growth in the demand for transport, especially private transport, and to reduce the need for car commuting by improving the reliability, availability and quality of public transport.

In this context, the DTO has commissioned a detailed demand management strategy for the greater Dublin area which will consider, inter alia, the potential and practicability of road pricing. Road pricing or congestion charging is, however, only one of range of measures which will be considered in the course of this work. Others include land use policies, fiscal/taxation measures, parking control and charging, mobility management, traffic management measures, use of information technology and re-organisation of work practices. [156] The key aim is to identify an appropriate mix of measures which will change behaviour and reduce growth in travel. Any decisions about demand management mechanisms that may be suitable for Dublin must await the findings of this comprehensive demand management strategy.


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