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Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 144. Mr. Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  if he proposes to introduce public service contracts into the rail service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23465/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan I am committed to improved transparency and accountability in the provision of State support for the provision of public transport services. In this context, my Department has worked with the CIE companies to develop service level agreements for each of the subsidiaries, including Iarnród Éireann. These agreements will set down the subvention to be paid and in return the levels of service to be provided including targets on reliability, quality and performance. These agreements will be monitored on a quarterly basis. I understand that agreement has now been reached to introduce service level agreements in 2003. This builds on progress by the Department in introducing performance indicators for the operating companies.

In my statement to the public transport partnership forum on 7 November 2002, I set out my proposals for institutional and structural reform of public transport. I indicated, inter alia, that within an overall regulatory and investment framework set by me as Minister for Transport, an independent regulator will be established to procure public transport services, regulate public transport and allocate current and capital funding from an overall budget provided by the Exchequer. While consideration of the precise institutional form that body will take is not yet complete, I indicated that DART and suburban rail services serving the greater Dublin area will be provided subject to a multiannual public ser[190] vice contract to be negotiated by the regulator with Iarnród Éireann.

The first Luas services will be operated by Connex Transport Ireland Limited, under the terms of a service level contract signed with the Railway Procurement Agency. Future Luas and Metro services in the greater Dublin area will be procured on a public private partnership basis by the Railway Procurement Agency, with the relevant service contracts requiring the approval of the independent regulator.

Finally, I also indicated in my statement that I propose all public transport outside the greater Dublin area should also be the subject of independent economic regulation. The proposals I intend to publish in early 2003 on regulatory reform outside the greater Dublin area will, in so far as rail services are concerned, follow the same policy approach as I have taken in respect of the greater Dublin area, and will include public service contracts.

Question No. 145 answered with Question No. 86.

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