The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger transport services nationally. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) which now operates under the Local Link brand.
As the Deputy will be aware, following my engagement with key stakeholders last year, I tasked the NTA to examine how to extend existing Local Link services under the Rural Transport Programme. Subsequently, the NTA approved funding for 65 new pilot evening and late night Local Link services to operate until the end of December. The results of the trial will be assessed by the NTA and the continuation of these services will be considered in the light of those results and the availability of funding in 2019.
I welcome the Deputy’s conversion and support for my initiative, given his previous criticism.
In light of the NTA's responsibilities regarding Local Link, including the development of new services, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.