Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Willie Penrose

Question:

118 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Transport the steps he has taken to implement the commitment in An Agreed Programme for Government that every county has a comprehensive rural transport initiative in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2753/03]

Seymour Crawford

Question:

164 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Transport his plans to introduce new rural transport initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2625/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 164 together.

The rural transport initiative provides funding for voluntary and community organisations and community partnerships to address the particular transport needs of their rural areas. The initiative is being managed by Area Development Management Limited on behalf of my Department. Under the RTI, 34 rural community transport groups are now being funded to provide transport services in their areas. These cover counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin including Fingal, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow. Between them, I understand that some 80 new transport services have been established to date under the RTI.

Some €6 million will have been spent on the RTI by the end of this year when the pilot initiatives are due to conclude. An inter-departmental committee, under the chairmanship of my Department, commissioned a study in 2001 to examine options for the development of a rural public transport policy and I hope to publish the study shortly. I expect that the study and the ongoing review of the RTI, will provide the basis for bringing forward proposals for a rural transport policy next year in keeping with the commitment in the programme for Government.

Question No. 119 answered with Question No. 97.