Govt Announces Plans To Integrate Rural Transport Services

Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly has announced major plans for the integration of rural transport services.

Over €200 million a year is spent across various state bodies on transport services in rural areas between the Rural Transport Programme, School Transport and HSE non-acute transport but with no official co-ordination between them.

The new plans, approved by Government, will see the integration of all state transport services in rural areas, based initially on up to six pilot areas, with a view to creating a more co-ordinated service nationally. Minister Kelly will establish a high-level committee to oversee the initiative that will be led by the National Transport Authority.

"We have to think more creatively about how we provide transport in rural areas. Transport access is vital and could be delivered in a better manner. The focus here is to eliminate cross-over and duplication of services and to create a better service for the public in general. We have seen a recent example in Donegal where 25% was saved on transport costs of the local health service by working with a rural transport group, already financed by the state. We need to see this type of effort on a national basis," stated Minister Kelly.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has now assumed a national role for integrated local and rural transport. A new high-level committee will be established by the Minister to oversee the pilots and the future integration of services.

The high-level committee will consist of representatives of National Transport Authority, Department of Education, Department of Health, Bus Éireann HSE, Local authorities, Rural Transport Groups, Pobal and the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport.


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