TransportNI could alleviate long waits for disabled parking bays in Derry by using its own staff to paint them instead of relying on Belfast-based contractors.
Members of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee urged TNI to bring the work back in-house after D. MacBride, a network development engineer, outlined some of the reasons why bays cannot be rolled out more quickly.
SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney said: “We’ve been hearing from people who have been trying to get disabled bays outside their homes but it is taking up to nine months. We’re told we must wait for a contractor to come from Belfast. That must happen quicker. It looks to me that people are having to jump through hoops to get these bays but people don’t want them, they need them.”
Sinn Féin’s Tony Hassan concurred: “The length of time for genuine applicants is too long and it’s red tape as far as I’m concerned. People are coming from Belfast to do it. We need people here.”
Dr. MacBride explained that applying was a three stage process. Firstly, an application is site-assessed taking two to three weeks.
Then the Department for Infrastructure must seek a Statutory Rule under the Roads Order but it only does this with batches of bays six times a year. Finally, the bays are marked out by private contractors used by TNI.
Dr. MacBride said TNI did have the capacity to do the markings in-house using its Strabane depot and vowed to look at the suggestion.