Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 18 February, 1999
Written Answers. - Public Service Vehicles.
Mr. Callely Mr. Callely
17. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she will issue a directive that new public service vehicles purchased by CIE or its subsidiaries will be environmentally friendly, particularly the purchase of buses to service Dublin city; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4551/99]
Mrs. O'Rourke Mrs. O'Rourke
Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): An additional 150 buses are on order by Dublin Bus and it is hoped that the first of these will come into service from April next with the remainder coming on street by the end of 1999. If I were to specify that some or all of those new buses were to use alternative fuels Dublin Bus would have to commence a new tendering process which would delay both the date for the first deliveries and the overall schedule. There would also probably be cost implications which would reduce the number of buses to be purchased within a fixed Exchequer capital allocation for 1999. Given the existing critical traffic situation in Dublin and the pressing need to provide additional buses to expand peak hour services, I am of the view that neither course of action would be desirable at the present time.
The question of better air quality and a cleaner environment generally is primarily the responsibility of the Department of the Environment and Local Government. However my Department strongly supports environmental improvement and I do appreciate the benefits to the environment of the use of cleaner alternative fuels such as LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) or CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). There are however a number of questions which would need to be examined, such as possible additional fuel and  vehicle costs, additional infrastructure costs involved in new fuelling and storage facilities and safety considerations.
My Department agreed to the establishment of an informal working group, with representatives drawn from both Departments, Dublin Bus, the Dublin Transportation Office, and Dublin Corporation's Office of the Director of Traffic to address these issues in the context of the ongoing bus replacement programme in Dublin Bus.
I am informed that Dublin Bus, in a joint venture with Bord Gáis Éireann, are currently operating, on a trial basis, a single-decker bus using CNG.
Dáil Éireann 500 Written Answers. Public Service Vehicles.