I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 136 together.
As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport.
Under the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for promoting the development of an integrated, accessible public transport network.
Accessibility features, such as wheelchair access and audio/visual aids, are built into all new public transport infrastructure projects and vehicles from the design stage, including the 17 new rail stations built since 2007. Newer systems such as LUAS are fully accessible.
The National Development Plan (NDP) for the period 2018-2027, sets out the national vision and ambition for the delivery of key critical infrastructure over the 10 year period of the Plan, including in relation to public transport infrastructure. Investment in public transport will be accelerated under the NDP to support the development of an integrated and sustainable national public transport system. A number of key new major public transport programmes are due to be delivered under the NDP over the period to 2027. As with all new recently developed public transport projects, these programmes will be fully accessible as part of the normal design.
However, work remains to be done in terms of the retro-fitting of older infrastructure to make it accessible for people with a disability. In particular, gaps remain in relation to railway infrastructure and facilities as most of the rail network was originally developed during the Victorian era, as well as in bus stop infrastructure outside of the cities.
To address infrastructural legacy issues, my Department funds a programme of accessibility improvement grants to upgrade existing and older infrastructure and facilities, such as the installation of accessible bus stops, upgrading train stations to make them accessible to wheelchair users, and providing grant support for the introduction of more wheelchair accessible vehicles into the taxi fleet. In this regard, I secured a trebling of the funding provided for the Accessibility Retro-fit Programme to €28 million for the period 2018 to 2021, as part of the 4-year capital envelope for public transport announced in Budget 2018. €7 million of that funding has been allocated for 2019, up from €4 million in 2018. The NTA manages the Retro-fit Programme.
In light of the NTA's responsibilities in this matter, I have forwarded your questions to the NTA for further response to you. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.