Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (194)

Éamon Ó Cuív


194. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Social Protection in view of the policy position of the National Transport Authority to tender the provision of the bus service both nationally and in Dublin, the steps she has taken to ensure that the free travel pass will be accepted on all of these new services; if she has had discussions with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on this matter; the result of these discussions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41266/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I understand that the National Transport Authority (NTA) earlier this month launched a public consultation process on its plans to enter into another direct award contract with Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann from December 2014, to amend those contracts in 2016 to reduce the services within those contracts by approximately 10% and, to provide the removed services through separate contracts following an open tender process.

At present, the free travel scheme operated by my Department can be used on services provided by CIE, Luas and some 90 private operators. The changes proposed by the NTA would have no impact on services until after 2016 when there could be additional operators providing the "removed services". An interdepartmental group, chaired by my Department and including the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the NTA, is currently examining the free travel scheme. This is one of the issues which will be considered as part of that review.