SDLP MLA John Dallat has said he is hopeful a lifeline town centre bus service in Limavady will be retained.
The East Derry assemblyman was speaking after asking regional development minister, Danny Kennedy, what assurances he has had from Translink that Limavady will continue to receive a town bus service adequate to the needs of its people.
In his response, Mr Kennedy said: “During the draft budget consultation for my Department one possible result of the drastic reduction in budget highlighted was the potential withdrawal of some town services and potential service reductions and consolidation of others.
“In relation, specifically to local town services, I am pleased to confirm to you that I have been successful in securing additional resource from the Executive, now included in the final 2015/16 budget, to be used to maintain, as far as possible, Translink’s provision of much needed town services.
“This could mean that services in listed towns will be maintained, but there may still be an impact on frequency of services aligned to passenger usage. Translink is currently reviewing its overall levels of service provision, with the aim of conducting consultation with local representatives as necessary.”
Mr Dallat said he hoped Limavady “will be included in those towns that will continue to receive a town bus service. The needs of the people of Limavady are very real and evidenced by the use made of the service day and daily”.
“This service is a real lifeline to people, particularly older people depending on public transport to meet medical appointments, do their shopping or indeed meet up with friends in the town centre or wherever,” said Mr Dallat. “It is also very important to our younger people and those who simply do not have cars. The withdrawal of such a service would be a retrograde step in which everyone is a loser, the passengers as well as local businesses.
“I will continue to stress to Mr Kennedy the need to ensure that Limavady is not left out in the cold when it comes to a proper town bus service.”