Public Transport Data

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (554)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

554. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the mid-point annual pay for drivers in Bus Éireann and LocalLink services, respectively. [5153/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport 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. It also has national responsibility for integrated local and rural transport, including management of the Rural Transport Programme which now operates under the Local Link brand. Noting this I have forward the Deputy's Question to the NTA for direct reply.

The question of rates of pay in Bus Éireann is a matter for the company and I have also forward the Deputy's Question to the company for direct reply

Please advise my private office if you do not receive responses within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Driver Test Waiting Lists

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (555)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

555. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the additional resources and-or finance required to implement a guarantee of a driver test within six weeks of application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5154/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

As this is primarily an operational matter for the Road Safety Authority (RSA), I have referred your question to the Authority for direct response. If you do not receive a response within 10 working days, please contact my office directly.

I should note that any such additional resources would require to be met from the resources available to the RSA which, inter alia, would include a proportionate increase in the fees for driving tests.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Road Network

Ceisteanna (556, 557)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

556. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the national policy guidelines with respect to the erection and installation of new street lighting beyond urban speed limits; if policy in this area is decided by Transport Infrastructure Ireland; if it is a competency of the local authority concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5174/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

557. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of new street lights erected and installed beyond urban speed limit zones, that is, outside of areas in which a speed limit of 50 km/h is in place, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5175/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 556 and 557 together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I allocate the national capital roads programme budget to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to manage and deliver (in accordance with the Roads Acts 1993-2015) the planning, design, and construction of all national roads, in conjunction with local authorities. In addition under Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993 to 2015, the improvement and maintenance of all public roads including public lighting is the statutory responsibility of the relevant Local Authority supplemented by funding from my Department.

Accordingly policy and decisions in relation to new installations and extensions to public lighting schemes beyond urban speed limits is a matter for local authorities in conjunction with TII in relation to national roads.

Regarding Public Lighting on National Roads, I have referred your question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Bus Éireann Services

Ceisteanna (558)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

558. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to reintroduce Bus Éireann route 190 from Duleek to Navan, County Meath. [5236/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) in conjunction with Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Sports Capital Programme Administration

Ceisteanna (559)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

559. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of a payment outstanding from the 2018 sports capital grant for a club (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5289/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Sports Capital Programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country.

Given the substantial investments made under the programme, it is a requirement where grants or cumulative grants reach a certain threshold that the State's investment is protected by way of deeds of covenant and charge against the grantee's property. This provides the Department with a guarantee that grant aided facilities will continue to be used for sporting purposes. The Chief State Solicitor's Office (CSSO) acts on behalf of the Department to ensure that all legal requirements are completed.

Prior to my Department issuing formal approval to the club referred to by the Deputy, the CSSO must confirm that the legal formalities are complete. I understand the CSSO has been engaging with the club's solicitors in this regard and once confirmation is received that all matters have been finalised, there will be no undue delay from my Department's perspective in progressing the drawdown of the grant.

Sports Capital Programme Applications

Ceisteanna (560)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

560. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding an application for funding under the sports capital grant scheme by a club (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5295/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme opened for applications on Friday 7 September and the application period closed on Friday 19th October. By that deadline, a record 2,337 applications were submitted seeking a total of €162m in funding.

186 of these applications were for projects deemed invalid under the 2017 round of the programme but who subsequently submitted corrected documents. These applications were assessed first and approximately €7m in allocations to 170 projects were announced on the 17th January.

In relation to new applications, I can confirm that a proposal has been submitted by the organisation referred to by the Deputy. For the first time, applicants who have submitted incorrect documentation under this round will be given the opportunity to correct their application during the assessment period. While there will be no undue delay in completing the assessment process, in view of the opportunity to correct documentation, the record number of applications received and the detailed information contained in each application, it is likely to take a number of months to have all applications assessed. Accordingly, I expect that it will be at least the second quarter of this year before the full set of allocations under this current round of the programme are announced.

National Mitigation Plan

Ceisteanna (561)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

561. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the details regarding item No. 72 of the update report on the national mitigation plan: actions complete, in relation to establishing a behavioural economics working group to consider behavioural change; the number of members in this group; the grades of the members; the date on which the group was established; the number of occasions it has met; the purpose or goals of the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5362/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The National Mitigation Plan proposed the establishing of a Behavioural Economics Working Group recognising the particular role that understanding human behaviour plays in effecting passenger mode shift. A Working Group approach was envisaged to review research and best practice in motivating significant modal shift away from cars towards public and active travel.

Since then, specifically to acknowledge the importance of human and psychological factors in influencing the uptake of sustainable solutions, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have established a dedicated Behavioural Economics Unit which is tasked with researching and communicating methods to encourage people to make better energy use decisions across a range of areas including within the transport sector. My Department is working with this Unit on transport projects and in 2018 co-funded a research project with SEAI entitled ‘Examining a range of behavioural nudges that would assist in decarbonising the national car fleet’ . The work of this SEAI Unit, securing relevant research and the collaboration with my Department were considered more effective means of advancing this key work than establishing a separate transport specific Behavioural Economics Working Group.

My Department is very aware that behavioural insight to influence change in the transport sector is essential. Supporting a shift away from the use of the passenger car, where feasible, remains central to the transport sectors response, not only to the climate change challenge but also to air quality and congestion challenges.

The National Development Plan has earmarked €8.6 billion for investment in public and sustainable transport to improve the capacity and attractiveness of the networks. Since 2013 we have seen an increase of almost 31 million journeys on subsidised public transport and commercial bus services, with an increase of 16 million passengers in 2017 (a 7% rise on 2016 figures) across Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann and Luas services.

Furthermore, my Department supports a wide range of active travel behavioural change programmes, including Green Schools, Smarter Workplaces and Campuses, and CycleRight which continue to promote the many and varied benefits of sustainable transport and are instrumental in the decision making of many to reduce car use and switch to more sustainable modes of transport.

Carbon Budget

Ceisteanna (562)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

562. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a small portion of the €5.5 million reduction budget was utilised in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5432/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Transport has a critical yet challenging role to play in the national carbon reduction effort. It is a sector where fossil fuel use is firmly embedded and travel demand is growing significantly due to our economic recovery and growing population. Despite this demand growth, 2017 saw a very welcome fall in transport emissions for the first time in four years.

The Carbon Reduction Programme has an important role to play in the transport emissions mitigation effort. However, it is only one small element of a far wider range of transport measures being implemented to help reduce emissions, including: the range of incentives to encourage a transition away from conventional fuels towards lower emitting alternatives, such as EVs; increasing the proportion of biofuels in the fuel mix; improving efficiency standards for vehicles; and of course the significantly enhanced funding I am making available to support the development of new and improved public and sustainable transport infrastructure. The National Development Plan outlines the €8.6 billion that will be invested in a range of projects that will collectively enhance sustainable transport options for citizens across the State and encourage modal shift away from the private car.

The Carbon Reduction Programme is intended for measures that are new, innovative and often associated with emerging technologies and research. Because such projects tend to take more time to develop, establish and gain acceptance, the programme drew down only €697,300 in 2018 due to:

- Production delays which deferred the delivery of nine hybrid buses until 2019 and procurement delays in facilitating a small scale pilot programme for alternatively fuelled rural buses; which costs will now arise in 2019 instead;

- Assessment of vehicle suitability by taxi drivers and the NTA which meant that, as is often the case with the introduction of new grants, the Electric Small Public Service Vehicle (eSPSV) grant payment rate early in the year was slow; however, the application rate increased as 2018 progressed and this improvement is expected to continue into 2019 as the Scheme becomes established in the sector; and finally

- The Electric Vehicle (EV) Reduced Tolling Scheme was introduced in mid-2018 and drawdown only arose for four months of operation as scheme invoices for November and December did not arise for payment until January 2019.

Considering the increased take-up and spend on the various schemes and projects in the later months of 2018, I expect a higher spend from the Carbon Reduction Programme in 2019 and I was delighted to be able to allocate €7 million in 2019 to support five key areas:

1. Low Emission Bus Trials;

2. the Electric Vehicle Reduced Tolling Scheme;

3. the Electric SPSV Grant Scheme;

4. bridging the purchase cost differential of low-emission vehicles for the public transport sector; and

5. a research programme.

Driver Licensing Exchange Agreements

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (563)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

563. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 963 of 15 January 2019, the provisional arrangements in place to enable the holder of a driver licence for which an application for licence exchange is being made to continue to drive a vehicle throughout the relevant processing and validation period; if applicants in such instances are issued with a temporary licence or document during the interim period which enables them to provide proof that they are competent to operate a vehicle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5473/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Road Safety

Ceisteanna (564)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

564. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a route (details supplied) will be made safer; if road markings will be made clearer on all routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5505/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of local authorities, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

I announced the 2019 regional and local road allocations on 1st February and all grant funding available to my Department has now been allocated. It is a matter for each Council to determine its priorities and decide its work programme on that basis, taking available grant funding and its own resources into account. Cavan County Council has been allocated €12,896,209.

As regards the Dundalk to Cootehill road, grant funding is being provided to Cavan County Council to enable the Council to update previous appraisal work, in line with the current requirements in the Public Spending Code and the Capital Investment Framework, of an upgrade of the Cavan to Dundalk regional and local road route. The aim is to assess the extent to which the scheme or elements of it can be justified in terms of appraisal and advanced for further consideration.

Public Transport

Ceisteanna (565)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

565. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason a planned trial of a service (details supplied) in County Limerick did not proceed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5506/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Deputy refers to a 2015 proposal, submitted by the company Uber, for a pilot ridesharing scheme which was to be based in the Limerick area.

In order for such a proposed scheme to be implemented, amendments to both primary and secondary legislation would have been needed. These changes would have presented a significant change to policy.

The current regulatory regime that is in place for the sector is designed to protect the consumer and to help ensure personal safety. My view is that the regulatory framework for this sector should continue to be determined in the context of supporting these important public interest objectives.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (566)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

566. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has met with his UK counterpart to discuss the Port of Dover and the threat that Brexit poses to Irish-EU trade via the land bridge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5549/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I have not met with Dover Port officials as it would be inappropriate in light of ongoing Brexit negotiations.

I have, however, met my UK counterpart, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling on Brexit matters on three occasions over the past 20 months.

In relation to the most recent meeting of 8 November, the parameters of the discussion were clearly communicated to the Secretary of State in advance, in particular the need to fully respect the mandate of the EU’s Chief Negotiator in negotiating for the EU 27 and that the discussion could not stray into the area of negotiations.

At that meeting, I set out the importance of continued transport connectivity between Ireland and to the UK, highlighting the importance of the UK landbridge for Ireland as a route to European markets, and the need for Irish trade to move efficiently through ports.

Disruption on the Dover – Calais maritime link could considerably disrupt hauliers and the estimated €21 billion of trade that crosses between Ireland and Europe via the UK landbridge, much of it travelling via the Dover-Calais link.

Last month, I briefed my colleagues in Government on the existing maritime capacity for direct sailings between Ireland and continental EU ports as a potential alternative route for trade currently using the landbridge. However, the landbridge is, as the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has found in its study into the implications of Brexit on the use of the landbridge, a strategically important route to market for many Irish importers and exporters, including but not limited to agrifood, seafood and other sectors trading in time sensitive produce. These sectors would be particularly adversely affected by any deterioration in transit times at UK or continental EU ports or increases in costs particularly in a no-deal scenario, and these sectors may not be able to opt for the direct maritime routes to the continent, given the longer journey times involved.

Irish officials have also met with French counterparts to discuss how Irish trucks can move through French ports after transiting through the UK. I also met French Transport Minister Borne on Brexit matters in November. My Department – through its own work and through participation in the Landbridge Project Group chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – continues to monitor the extent to which Government agencies at the port of Calais in particular are stepping up preparedness for checks on products from and flowing through the UK, which is critical for products that need the time advantage offered by the landbridge.

Ireland is also working with the European Commission and other affected Member States (Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden) regarding preparation of EU ports to facilitate the transit of EU products through the UK, using EU rules on internal transit set out under the Union’s Custom Code. This work is intensifying and progress is being made. However, there may be bottlenecks or congestion at ports in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (567)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

567. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he or his officials have had meetings with officials from Dover Port in an effort to address or mitigate against delays that may arise as a consequence of a hard or no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5550/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Neither I nor my officials have met with officials from Dover Port as it would be inappropriate in light of ongoing negotiations.

I have, however, met my UK counterpart, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling on Brexit matters on three occasions over the past 20 months.

In relation to the most recent meeting of 8 November, the parameters of the discussion were clearly communicated to the Secretary of State in advance, in particular the need to fully respect the mandate of the EU’s Chief Negotiator in negotiating for the EU 27 and that the discussion could not stray into the area of negotiations.

At that meeting, I set out the importance of continued transport connectivity between Ireland and to the UK, highlighting the importance of the UK landbridge for Ireland as a route to European markets, and the need for Irish trade to move efficiently through ports.

Disruption on the Dover – Calais maritime link could considerably disrupt hauliers and the estimated €21 billion of trade that crosses between Ireland and Europe via the UK landbridge, much of it travelling via the Dover-Calais link.

Last month, I briefed my colleagues in Government on the existing maritime capacity for direct sailings between Ireland and continental EU ports as a potential alternative route for trade currently using the landbridge. However, the landbridge is, as the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has found in its study into the implications of Brexit on the use of the landbridge, a strategically important route to market for many Irish importers and exporters, including but not limited to agrifood, seafood and other sectors trading in time sensitive produce. These sectors would be particularly adversely affected by any deterioration in transit times at UK or continental EU ports or increases in costs particularly in a no-deal scenario, and these sectors may not be able to opt for the direct maritime routes to the continent, given the longer journey times involved.

Irish officials have also met with French counterparts to discuss how Irish trucks can move through French ports after transiting through the UK. I also met French Transport Minister Borne on Brexit matters in November. My Department – through its own work and through participation in the Landbridge Project Group chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – continues to monitor the extent to which Government agencies at the port of Calais in particular are stepping up preparedness for checks on products from and flowing through the UK, which is critical for products that need the time advantage offered by the landbridge.

Ireland is also working with the European Commission and other affected Member States (Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden) regarding preparation of EU ports to facilitate the transit of EU products through the UK, using EU rules on internal transit set out under the Union’s Custom Code. This work is intensifying and progress is being made. However, there may be bottlenecks or congestion at ports in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (568)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

568. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he will take in the coming weeks to alert small to medium size hauliers and haulage companies to the implications of Brexit and the preparations they need to make for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5551/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

On Monday 21st January, my Department hosted a Freight Forum with stakeholders from the freight and maritime sectors, including industry representative bodies in haulage, to inform them of the latest Brexit developments. My Department along with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Agriculture addressed the group, stressing the importance of attendees disseminating the information provided as widely as possible. Similarly, a number of Departmental officials took part in a Brexit seminar for local Chambers of Commerce hosted by Chambers Ireland on January 10th, so that local chambers could in turn brief their members on developments. I also met the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) on Tuesday 29th January. My Department continues to work with the industry representative bodies to keep hauliers and enterprises informed of developments and prospects, as indeed is our long-established practice. We will continue to update the information on the Department’s website as further developments arise.

Sports Capital Programme

Ceisteanna (569)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

569. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the drawdown of funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5570/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Sports Capital Programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. Given the substantial investments made under the programme, it is a requirement where grants or cumulative grants reach a certain threshold, that the State's investment is protected by way of deeds of covenant and charge against the grantee's property. This provides the Department with a guarantee that grant aided facilities will continue to be used for sporting purposes. The Office of the Chief State Solicitor acts on behalf of the Department to ensure that all legal requirements are completed.

It is a provision of the Standard Covenant between the Minister and the recipient of a Sports Capital Programme grant that the grantee will make a contribution towards the legal costs. The amount of this contribution depends on the nature and number of the legal documents required in each case. The level of cost contribution is set by the Office of the Chief State Solicitor.

Driver Test Waiting Lists

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (570)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

570. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the measures he plans to take to rectify the waiting time for a driver test of up to 28 weeks at test centres in County Tipperary (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5573/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

It should be stressed that there has been no recent change to the legal position of drivers with learner permits. The recent legislation has only strengthened existing enforcement provisions to control the illegal driving of vehicles by leaners unaccompanied by qualified drivers.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (571)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

571. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of journeys not awarded the correct discount regarding electronic vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles respectively on each of the road tolls since the introduction of the scheme; the way in which he plans to remedy the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5575/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Toll Incentive Scheme was developed through the Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce as part of a wider suite of incentives aimed at supporting the national transition towards lower emitting vehicles. The reduced tolling regime was introduced to encourage private car commuters who regularly use tolled roads to consider switching to EVs. It is estimated that there are approximately 400,000 heavy toll users in Ireland and so reduced tolls act as a meaningful incentive for a large number of vehicle owners.

The Scheme was launched in July 2018 and is administered by Transport Infrastructure Ireland on behalf of my Department. Since its introduction the Scheme has proven very successful with over 52% of all EVs in the national fleet registered to avail of the incentive. Based on the significant increase in EV sales in 2019 I expect this percentage to rise further.

I understand that to date neither Transport Infrastructure Ireland nor the individual Toll Service Providers, who operate the Scheme, have received any information or complaints from customers regarding the inaccurate application of tolling discounts. My Department is also not in receipt of any such complaints. If the Deputy would like to provide further information to my Department or directly to TII, the matter will be investigated further as a matter of urgency.