Dáil Éireann - Volume 425 - 10 February, 1993
Written Answers. - Free Travel Scheme.
Mr. Bell Mr. Bell
152. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason tender forms for the carriage of old age pensioners have not been issued to a company (details supplied); the reason this application has not been sanctioned; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that FÁS has encouraged and helped this new company but without the payment for the carriage of old age pensioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods) Michael J. Woods
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The company's application to participate as a private bus operator in the Free Travel Scheme is currently under consideration by my Department. This application requires careful assessment as the bus routes proposed by it are already being serviced to a large extent by another bus operator who has been participating in the Free Travel Scheme for many years.
My main responsibility is to provide the most cost effective and efficient service for Free Travel Scheme customers within the budget resources available for the scheme. At the same time, I am keen to support local enterprise and job creation. In this regard, I have to consider the possible effect on existing bus operator services and jobs following this new company's application to provide Free Travel Scheme services.
My Department is assessing the best approach to this application having regard to these factors. The Department of Transport, Energy and Communications have a primary role in considering matters relating to the provision of bus services generally and my Department are in consultation with them on the issues involved in this area.
I expect to be in a position shortly to decide on an approach to be adopted following this application. The company  will be advised of the position as soon as possible.
Dáil Éireann 425 Written Answers. Free Travel Scheme.