Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (44)

Tom Hayes

Question:

122 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Transport his plans to introduce new rural transport initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6727/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

Under the rural transport initiative, RTI, 34 rural community groups are currently being financed to operate pilot rural transport services in their areas. Area Development Management Limited, ADM, administers the initiative on behalf of my Department.

Some 2,500 transport services are currently being provided on approximately 380 new rural routes established under the initiative and 20,000 people are using the RTI transport services every month. The RTI is now in operation in almost all counties and the free travel scheme of the Department of Social and Family Affairs was extended to the RTI in 2003.

ADM recently commissioned an external body to undertake a full appraisal of the RTI to measure its effectiveness in addressing the transport needs of rural Ireland. The appraisal is due to be completed by the summer and I will consider the outcome of the study when it is completed. While the national development plan earmarked €4.4 million for the scheme, €3 million has been provided annually for the scheme since 2002.