Dáil Éireann - Volume 639 - 18 October, 2007

Written Answers. - Public Transport.

Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Transport if he will significantly increase the Dublin Bus fleet in order to justify future quality bus corridors in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24393/07]

Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport the number of buses currently in the Dublin Bus fleet; when he will increase the size of the bus fleet; when he will ensure that all Dublin bus routes are fully accessible for citizens with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24262/07]

  Deputy Noel Dempsey: I propose to take Questions Nos. 37 and 51 together.

Transport 21 provides for a programme of investment to fund increased integrated radial and orbital bus services in the Dublin area. Dublin Bus are currently bringing into service the 100 additional buses for which Exchequer funding of €30 million was approved in September last year. This will bring the total Dublin Bus fleet to 1,182 buses — up from just over 900 in 1997. A further €15.04 million was approved earlier this year towards the cost of 100 replacement buses for the Dublin Bus fleet; 50 of these replacement buses will be tri-axle buses, which offer greater passenger carrying capacity than the buses being replaced.

The capacity of the Dublin Bus fleet, taking into account the 100 additional buses is now over 106,000 — an increase of more than 34% on the 2000 capacity. This increase reflects the fact that many of the replacement buses purchased over this period were of higher capacity than the smaller, single decker buses being replaced. Over the same period, Dublin Bus passenger numbers have grown from 134 million to 146 million passengers per annum, an increase of 9%. The provision of additional buses, over and above the 100 currently being brought into service, is currently being considered in the context of the Programme for Government.

As regards accessibility, all buses purchased by Dublin Bus since 2000 are low-floor wheelchair accessible. I understand from Dublin Bus that currently over 60% of the fleet is accessible and that the company plans to have all of the fleet accessible by 2012. The policy of purchasing accessible buses will continue as the bus fleet is replaced and expanded over time.