East Derry SDLP MLA John Dallat has called on the regional development minister
Danny Kennedy to “exercise control over Translink, which is considering cuts in town bus services in 13 towns, including Limavady”.
A DRD spokesman confirmed to the ‘Journal’ that Limavady is one of the towns “provisionally under consideration, but not yet agreed”.
Mr Dallat, a member of Stormont’s regional development committee said he would be making the case of those towns under consideration, including Limavady.
the town bus service acts as an “economic generator bringing much needed business to shops at a time when they are struggling with high rent, rates and increased competition from out-of-town shopping centres and the internet”.
“It is a false economy to be considering cutting public transport services when the correct move is to develop an integrated transport service which would maintain public service for all including those living in rural areas that are poorly served at present,” said Mr Dallat.
“The minister needs to be mindful that Translink receives a very considerable amount of money from the Assembly to maintain public transport and that must include those who rely on it for whatever reason. There are serious equality principles at stake. Minister Kennedy said: “DRD is facing cuts of around £65million to its budget for 2015/16 and as a result there could be reductions of some £15 million in the total Departmental funding to Translink. A draft budget consultation document for 2015/16 is currently out for public consultation.
“The impacts of the reduction on my budget have not been agreed at this stage however the financial constraints are so great that there will certainly be very difficult decisions ahead.”