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Public Transport.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 March 2006

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Questions (113, 114)

Eamon Ryan


135 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport the long-term targets his Department has for the modal split of both freight and passenger transport here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9202/06]

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Bernard J. Durkan


378 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport his plans to encourage the use of buses; if it is intended to take particular initiatives to make travel by bus more attractive, such as more conveniently located bus stops, bus shelters, increased frequency of services and other means to encourage passengers towards the use of this particular mode of public transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9443/06]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 378 together.

My Department, in its statement of strategy, has as one of its guiding principles the encouragement of modal shift in favour of attracting passengers to public transport. The investments needed to support this policy are contained in Transport 21 which provides a massive investment in public transport. In the greater Dublin area alone, the objective is to deliver 175 million extra passenger journeys net per annum on public transport.

The strategic rail review, commissioned by my Department, and published in 2003, contained a comprehensive examination of the rail freight business and its realistic potential to support economic development and contribute to a sustainable environment. Iarnród Éireann, in responding to the review, held wide-ranging consultations with business interests around the country to identify those freight activities which are best suited to rail transport. The company has developed a business plan based on a strategy to break even by 2006, increase the profitability of the existing profitable business while withdrawing from those businesses that are heavily loss-making. The company has made progress in developing the rail freight business in areas where it holds a competitive advantage over road haulage.

Iarnród Éireann continues to pursue a policy of growing its rail freight business where opportunities present. However, as in all businesses, it must adjust the freight business from time to time to reflect market realities. The rail freight market has been liberalised since January last for international services and will be liberalised fully from January next.

The Department's statement of strategy recognises that a mix of policies is needed to alleviate the effects of congestion and an improved quality and range of public transport services can attract people out of cars for all or part of their journeys. Under Transport 21, the bus will continue to play a crucial role in the capital's public transport system. There will be a greater focus on the development of orbital, feeder and local services integrating the city and complementing the rail network. We continue to make progress on investment and development of our public transport system in areas such as the Dublin suburban rail network, inter-city rail services, bus capacity and increased bus services and quality bus corridors.

Question No. 136 answered with QuestionNo. 55.