Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Questions (572)

Mick Barry

Question:

572. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the 13 cent State subsidy for each €1 in fares collected by Bus Éireann compares unfavourably with other EU 15 countries (details supplied); and the measures he proposes to improve the situation. [15691/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Subsidy levels for public transport services vary across EU Member States. The calculation of subsidy levels and what constitutes subsidies varies considerably and can lead to confusion comparing statistics which are in actual fact made up of different elements.

In the case of Bus Éireann, the company operates three distinct businesses - PSO services; commercial Expressway services; and School Transport services; however, the PSO subsidy is only provided in respect of the PSO services and business and therefore the level of subsidy is a factor of subsidy provided against revenue collected on PSO services only.

On that basis the figure for Bus Éireann in 2014 is a €0.47 subsidy provided for every €1 in revenue collected, while the provisional figures for 2015 suggest a €0.43 subsidy. This indicates a subsidy level which is substantially higher than the Deputy is suggesting.

This highlights the difficulty in accurately comparing subsidy levels across the EU and while I acknowledge that there are EU Member States that do provide higher subsidy levels than our current provision, it is the case that any crude comparison must be subject to close scrutiny to avoid any distortion of fact.