I propose to take Questions Nos. 541 and 542 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 securing the provision of public transport services by way of Public Services Obligation (PSO) contracts in respect of services that are socially necessary but commercially unviable.
The funding of those services comprises both the fares paid by passengers and the subvention payments from the Exchequer. The main purpose of the subvention payment is to meet the gap between the income from fares and the cost of operating services.
Since 2010 my Department no longer pays subvention for public transport services directly to operators. The award of Public Service Obligation (PSO) funding falls under the independent statutory remit of the NTA. The allocations to the companies are decided by the NTA in exercise of its statutory mandate and, in accordance with the various contract arrangements that it has in place with PSO service providers.
I have, therefore, referred the Deputy’s questions to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.