Dáil Éireann - Volume 643 - 06 December, 2007
Written Answers. - Public Transport.
Deputy Pat Rabbitte Deputy Pat Rabbitte
Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport his plans to reform bus licensing legislation; when he will to publish proposed legislative changes; the areas of Dublin that still have inaccessible buses; the position regarding the new bus re-equipment programme at Dublin Bus; the number of buses currently in the Dublin Bus fleet; when he will increase the total 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. [32794/07]
Deputy Noel Dempsey Deputy Noel Dempsey
Deputy Noel Dempsey:The Programme for Government includes a commitment to improve bus services under Transport 21 by reforming bus licensing to facilitate the optimum provision of services by providing a level playing field for all market participants. The new licensing regime will be designed in a manner consistent with the recently adopted EU Regulation on Public Service Obligations in the transport sector.
While it is not possible at this time to indicate a precise time as to when the legislative proposals on regulatory reform of the bus market will be published, applications for bus licenses and notifications from bus operators will continue to be processed under the provisions of the Road Transport Act 1932, as amended, or the notification system with reference to the Transport Act 1958, as appropriate.
In relation to the Dublin Bus fleet, almost 800 of the total 1182 buses are low floor, wheelchair accessible. All buses purchased since 2000 are accessible and the company plans to have all of the fleet accessible by 2012. In the meantime, Dublin Bus try to ensure that there are accessible buses operating on all of the main corridors. Dublin Bus are currently bringing into service the remainder of the 100 additional buses for which Exchequer funding of €30 million was approved last year. This brings the total Dublin Bus fleet to 1,182 buses — up from just over 900 in 1997.
The capacity of the Dublin Bus fleet, taking into account the 100 additional buses referred to above, is now over 106,000 passengers — an increase of more than 34% on the 2000 capacity. Over the same period, Dublin Bus passenger numbers have grown from 137 million to 146 million passengers per annum, an increase of 7%. The need for additional buses, over and above the 100 currently being brought into service, is  being considered in the context of the legislation being prepared for the replacement of the Road Transport Act 1932.
Dáil Éireann 643 Written Answers. Public Transport.