Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Eamon Ryan


260 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether the space available on mainline trains is adequate for bicycles; his further views on whether the cost of transporting bicycles on mainline trains does little to encourage greater use of public transport or indeed to promote cycling as an alternative to the car which could help to reduce the number of cars on already congested roads; and his further views on whether the lack of infrastructure and facilities to store bicycles at train stations further adds to the problem. [2964/03]

In relation to cycle facilities on trains and at train stations, I recently requested my Department to facilitate the establishment of a dialogue between Iarnród Éireann and various cycling representative groups under the umbrella of the Irish Cycling Campaign to discuss these issues and other concerns brought to my attention by cycling interests. The initial meeting was held on 28 January 2003. This initiative will begin a process which will facilitate the development of an overall policy on cycling facilities by Iarnród Éireann in partnership with the cycling groups.

Trevor Sargent


261 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Transport if a review of policy will be carried out to remove increases and anomalies in fares for Iarnród Éireann where, for example, students of Loreto, Balbriggan, County Dublin, are faced with increased prices for monthly and weekly tickets even though the latter do not apply after 5 p.m. or at the weekend which reduces participation in sports and other extra curricular school activities. [2965/03]

Following my approval for a general fares increase in December 2002 Iarnród Éireann increased their schoolchild single fare from 50 cent to 60 cent. The schoolchild weekly ticket was increased by 40 cent from €3.30 to €3.70. This weekly fare works out at less than 40 cent per journey.

The level of schoolchild fares is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and such fares are heavily discounted, when compared with ordinary child fares and, consequently, are valid for travel from Mondays to Fridays up to 5 p.m. during school terms only. This condition has always applied to such fares and was not affected by the fares increase of 2 December. Outside of these times, schoolchildren may avail of the ordinary child fares which are also sold at a discount from the standard fare.