Transport cuts targeting the most vulnerable - Mc Aleer
Published: 4 March, 2015
West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer has raised concern that cost cutting measures proposed by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy will target the most vulnerable people, particularly those living in rural areas.
"Minister Kennedy's statement refers to the reduction of services and proposed cuts or 'efficiencies'for community and rural transport.
"We received a briefing at today's DRD committee meeting where senior Translink officials, which included their Chief Executive, revealed that the company was starting a review and consultation exercise beginning with the non-profit making services. They stated that the consultation would be 'extensive and meaningful' and will begin next week. A list of the services under review will be published for public comment.
"During the course of the meeting I strongly expressed the view that any diminution of rural services will leave many communities, for example in the Sperrins, extremely isolated and would have a disproportionate impact on older and vulnerable people. This is compounded by the proposed cut to rural transport, which is a lifeline for people in isolated areas to access essential services.
"Any decisions relating to future transport needs must be fully rural proofed. It is vital that political representatives and rural stakeholder organizations make a strong case to preserve what limited public transport is currently available in rural areas".