At this week’s meeting of the Committee for Infrastructure, Ulster Unionist member Roy Beggs MLA, picked up on alarming comments in the departmental budget briefing which highlighted the ‘risk of imminent and serious collapse of our public transport during 20/21’ and has called on the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that funds are secured for public transport in next year’s budget.
Roy Beggs MLA said:
“Due to the low level of subsidy for transport over the past number of years, Translink have indicated that they have drained their reserves and cannot continue to provide the current bus and rail services with the current level of public subsidy. Public transport enables the community to get to work and to school. It is also important in avoiding social isolation and in fighting Climate Change. The Northern Ireland Executive must ensure that essential public transport services continue to be provided.
“During questioning I pressed officials to advise what specifically would happen without an increase in support for public transport. They confirmed that without increased funding, NI Transport Holding Company Directors, who are responsible for Translink, would have to prevent insolvency by very significant reductions in bus and rail services, with few services being viable on their own. My former colleague Danny Kennedy repeatedly warned of the dire situation facing Translink when he was the DRD Minister, but those calls fell on deaf ears at previous Executives and Translink now finds itself in a very precarious position.”