I propose to take Questions Nos. 818 to 822, inclusive, together.
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 the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including PSO bus fleet procurement. Project Ireland 2040 commits us to end the purchase of diesel-only buses for our urban PSO bus fleets from next month (July 2019). To that end the NTA has advertised its intent to enter into a new bus purchase framework agreement to purchase hybrid buses in the short term.
The medium and longer term approach to the NTA's procurement of low-carbon buses will be informed by a range of matters, including the outcomes of the Low-Emission Bus Trials recently undertaken by my Department. Testing took place on the No. 9 route in Dublin City, operating from Broadstone depot and on the No. 207a route in Cork city, operating from Capwell depot. As part of the trial, three hybrid-electric double-deck vehicles and two full (battery) electric buses (single-deck) from a range of suppliers were tested. The operational phase of the low-emission bus trials has now concluded and the findings are currently being assessed. I expect that summary findings will be made available by my Department in the coming weeks.
The NTA's procurement strategy will also be informed by the recently revised Clean Vehicles Directive, which legislates at EU level for the purchase of vehicles by public authorities, including the purchase of public urban buses. The Directive sets procurement targets for Member States, including for the purchase of buses.
I am pleased to see fulfilment of our commitment to ending the purchase of diesel-only buses for the urban PSO bus fleets and I am satisfied that our on-going research on the medium and longer term technology potential, along with EU Directive requirements, will inform the NTA's approach to its bus purchase programme in the years ahead.