East Antrim Ulster Unionist Assemblyman Roy Beggs MLA has urged the public to respond to the Translink consultation on the future of the Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey Town centre service and the connecting service to Antrim Hospital.
Mr Beggs said,
“I would urge the local residents to use their local bus service and make their views known via www.translink.co.uk/servicechanges – It is important that a connecting local bus service is available for those without their own transport. The town centre service links the suburbs with to the local community and to the wider bus and rail network. Without the current hospital service visitors and out patients would have to travel to Antrim via Larne or Belfast, or to pay for private transport.”
Translink are under severe financial pressure. During 2012 the former chief executive of Translink, Catherine Mason highlighted that Translink received the lowest level of Government subsidy per passenger in the British Isles. In the year to March 2014, even with significant offset to depreciation charges Ulsterbus, made a pre-tax loss of £3.4m.
Roy Beggs MLA continued;
“In addition to low subsidy levels for public transport, this financial year the Department of Regional Development itself suffered further unplanned cuts due to failings in the Budget given by the Finance Minster.
Subsidies have been reduced. An emergency 4.4% or £15m Department budget cut was make in year. I would urge the Finance Minister to ensure that public transport is receives adequate support to avoid a cut in services and to minimise the impact of vital public transport on the public.”