The Head of Transport at the Consumer Council has urged local people with views on public transport, taxis and air travel to attend a special People’s Parliament in Derry this week.
Scott Kennerley was speaking as he prepared to join a team of experts from the consumer body and other organisations at the Guildhall this Friday, March 23.
As well as the focus on transport, during the day there will be sessions on flooding and water issues, energy, broadband and postal services, as well as an all-day Consumer Clinic, while other agencies including Trading Standards will be in attendance. Registration is free and open to all.
“We’re all coming en masse,” Scott said. “We want to hear people’s views and experiences on public transport, taxis and air travel. We want to hear from the public whether they use the Foyle Metro service, the trains, the Ulsterbus network, the 212 Service from Derry to Belfast. If people don’t use any of the public transport services, we would like to hear why, and what steps and what changes would make them consider using it. There has been a lot of changes in the taxi industry and we want to hear people’s experiences.”
The Consumer Council transport team also want to hear people’s experiences with air travel in terms of services and facilities at City of Derry Airport and the other airports. “We want to hear from anyone who has had a particular experience that has stopped them using a particular service and we are particularly interested in the views of people with limited mobility,” Scott added.
He said the Consumer Council would also be keen to hear what was good about transport services here. “I think hearing people’s views, listening to any problems is very useful,” he said. “What we are trying to get is what people’s issues, challenges and priorities for improvement are. Sometimes there are real barriers if you have reduced mobility you might find it difficult in terms of access to taxis, buses, airports, trains. There are also perceived barriers- people might think public transport is more expensive than it actually is, for example.”
Scott said he was sure Brexit would be raised during the discussions on the day, particularly given the fact that Derry and Strabane ran along the border. “If you ask somebody in Belfast about public transport it is going to be very different from Derry and Strabane.”
Feedback from the event will be raised by the Consumer Council - which has statutory powers- directly with transport authorities.
Anyone wishing to attend the Parliament is urged to register for free on 08001216022.