Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 01 July, 1999

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

81. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the plans, if any, she has to increase the level of Government subvention to Dublin Bus in view of the far higher subvention of public bus services in all other EU capital cities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17088/99]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): A comparison with the levels of sub[922] vention in other EU capital cities is not an appropriate basis for determining the level of State subvention for Bus Átha Cliath. Such comparisons can be misleading as they do not necessarily take account of differing circumstances in individual cities.

For example, Bus Átha Cliath, in addition to the State subvention, also receives payments from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs in respect of free travel schemes. In 1998 these payments amounted to £10.2 million, in addition to a State subvention of £9.244 million. This year, Bus Átha Cliath is also receiving Exchequer and EU capital grants of £28.3 million for the purchase of 150 extra double deck buses and 20 accessible midi buses, and for the leasing of seven trial low-floor buses and one LPG fuelled trial bus. The company is also receiving funding for the introduction of real time passenger information on Quality Bus Corridors.

The level of subvention to Bus Átha Cliath will be kept under review. Any increase in the subvention, beyond that required to take account of inflation, could only be considered where the company was providing new or additional services which did not fully recover their costs.

In that regard, I will take into account the proposal in the DTO short-term action plan regarding funding for any supplementary operational costs incurred by the 150 new buses. I will also take into account the recommendations regarding additional buses and services contained in the recently completed DTO transportation blueprint 2000 to 2006. However, it will only be possible to reach a definitive conclusion on the revenue implications for Bus Átha Cliath once any additional buses have been in service for a period.