Wednesday, 27 March 1996
Dáil Éireann Debate
134. Mr. D. McDowell asked the Minister for Social Welfare the estimated cost of removing the time limit on the use of the free bus pass on Dublin Bus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6746/96]
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): Time restrictions which have been a feature of the free travel scheme since its inception apply generally from 7 a.m. to 9.45 a.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Monday to Friday inclusive. They are necessary on city bus routes because the transport services concerned are under severe pressure from commuters travelling to or from work or school in the morning and evening and they would be unable to cope with the additional volume of passengers arising if the restrictions did not apply. They do not, however, apply in the case of mentally handicapped people, people attending long-term rehabilitation courses and certain other disabled or blind people.
Information is not available as to the additional cost involved in removing the time restrictions in respect of Dublin Bus. I understand, in any event, that the company would not be prepared to lift the current time restrictions, even if appropriate compensation was offered to them by my Department, because of  the major passenger capacity constraints operating in their case at those peak times of the day.
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