A Limavady pensioner has spoken out in support of the town’s under threat bus service, which she has described as “a lifeline” for her.
Katie Reid, aged 88, has used the Town Service since its inception, approximately 14 years ago.
Currently Translink is conducting a consultation it says will “seek to identify what is most important to customers to help Translink best design the bus network to operate within allocated resources while protecting those routes most essential to customers”.
Katie was among several local people who yesterday attended a Translink meeting in Limavady at the Ulsterbus depot about possible changes to the service.
Katie says there are days when she would be on the bus three to four times.
“I’ve been using it since it started,” Katie told the ‘Journal’.
“It’s a lifeline to me. I use the bus to take me to the clinic,and other special appointments.”
Katie also said the bus means she is able to get out of the house and socialise, which she would be unable to do without the bus as a means of transport.
“I would be lost without it,” she said, “and I wouldn’t want to see any changes to it and I wouldn’t want any of the bus drivers to lose their jobs either because they are very good. I want to thank DUP MLA George Robinson who was very good and fought for us.”
Among those at the meeing yesterday was Limavady Mayor, Alan Robinson.
Afterwards, on social media, he said: “People power at the Translink public consultation on town bus services.
“Reasurances were given that our local Limavady Town service will not be entirely lost but the Translink staff were honest enough to admit that there will be a reduction in services.”
Unite union shop steward, Gareth Kelly said the Town Service is invaluable for the people in Limavady who rely on it.
“It’s a lifeline for people who use it, many who are elderly, and it’s the only way they have of getting out of their house,” said Mr Kelly.
“You see it there in the mornings. It’s like a community centre on that bus and, if someone doesn’t get on, people are wondering if that person is ill. That’s how much it means to people.”
Ciaran Rogan, Translink Marketing Executive urged people to take part in the consultation.
“In addition to reviewing our network to address the current funding challenges, we are also looking at efficiency savings through reductions in manpower, reorganising facilities, reductions in areas of general administrative expenditure and we also recently increased our fares.
“We would very much urge our passengers to participate in this process and contribute to shaping the future of our local bus services.”
Deadline for responses to this consultation exercise is 17 April 2015. For information log onto translink.co.uk/service