I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 378 together.
My Department, in its statement of strategy, has as one of its guiding principles the encouragement of modal shift in favour of attracting passengers to public transport. The investments needed to support this policy are contained in Transport 21 which provides a massive investment in public transport. In the greater Dublin area alone, the objective is to deliver 175 million extra passenger journeys net per annum on public transport.
The strategic rail review, commissioned by my Department, and published in 2003, contained a comprehensive examination of the rail freight business and its realistic potential to support economic development and contribute to a sustainable environment. Iarnród Éireann, in responding to the review, held wide-ranging consultations with business interests around the country to identify those freight activities which are best suited to rail transport. The company has developed a business plan based on a strategy to break even by 2006, increase the profitability of the existing profitable business while withdrawing from those businesses that are heavily loss-making. The company has made progress in developing the rail freight business in areas where it holds a competitive advantage over road haulage.
Iarnród Éireann continues to pursue a policy of growing its rail freight business where opportunities present. However, as in all businesses, it must adjust the freight business from time to time to reflect market realities. The rail freight market has been liberalised since January last for international services and will be liberalised fully from January next.
The Department's statement of strategy recognises that a mix of policies is needed to alleviate the effects of congestion and an improved quality and range of public transport services can attract people out of cars for all or part of their journeys. Under Transport 21, the bus will continue to play a crucial role in the capital's public transport system. There will be a greater focus on the development of orbital, feeder and local services integrating the city and complementing the rail network. We continue to make progress on investment and development of our public transport system in areas such as the Dublin suburban rail network, inter-city rail services, bus capacity and increased bus services and quality bus corridors.