As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally, and for the allocation of associated funding to Dublin Bus and other CIÉ companies, along with other relevant transport operators.
The Covid-19 health emergency brought a profound and swift shock to the public transport sector. Public transport’s designation as an essential service throughout the pandemic means, that although fare revenues have collapsed, most of the cost of operations remains and must continue to be met in order to fulfil Government’s broader policy objectives. Government support for all public transport services in 2020 amounted to over €620m. By comparison, the level of PSO and Local Link funding provided in 2019 was in the region of €300m.
Due to the current Level 5 restrictions in operation, fare revenues on all modes of public transport continue to be severely depressed. My Department, in conjunction with NTA, will continue to monitor PSO and rural transport funding and other commercial bus supports during 2021. Over €670m has been provided in Budget 2021 to ensure that the existing level of public transport services, albeit at a higher cost, continue to operate in a safe manner.