Dáil Éireann - Volume 638 - 03 October, 2007

Written Answers. - School Transport.

[1609] Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport and the Marine his plans to extend the school bus system to urban areas in an effort to reduce urban congestion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22051/07]

  Deputy Noel Dempsey: The question of extending the school bus system to urban areas is but one measure to be considered in moving to more sustainable travel and transport in Ireland.

Commuting by private car is growing in Ireland and our economic success and growing population has contributed to the increase in transport demand. The Transport 21 investment programme is providing significant public transport benefits and it also includes proposals to manage travel demand.

To complement the investment in Transport 21, I am also committed to delivering a Sustainable Travel and Transport Action Plan which will consider all policies impacting on travel demand.

One such area relates to school travel. Figures from the 2006 Census indicates that the percentage of primary schoolchildren being driven to school by car has risen to 55% in 2006 compared to 27.7% in 1991. My aim is to address this pattern of travel along with others in the context of the proposed Action Plan.

I intend publishing the Plan in 2008 after a full public consultation process. The process will inform the precise measures to be adopted in meeting the challenge of managing our economic success so that, in so far as transport is concerned, the citizen’s quality of life and the environment can also benefit.