Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Questions (211)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

211. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding the continuation of services provided through the rural transport programme to island communities (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42774/13]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for implementing the restructuring of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) announced by me on 9 July 2013.  The purpose of the restructuring of the RTP is to protect the provision of rural transport services into the future.

I am advised by the NTA that during the restructuring of the RTP, their priority is to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of existing RTP services, meeting the needs of those affected by social exclusion during this time of change.  In this regard the NTA's focus is to move the existing RTP services into contracted services with the NTA, whether directly with the operators, or with the fleet owning groups.  At the same time the NTA will examine existing contracted services to ensure that they are meeting current demands.  Based on the current funding available, the NTA has no plans to modify or reduce specific services.  This includes the services currently provided under the Programme to island communities.