Views on the street: Derry night buses - Good idea?

In recent months we’ve seen concerns raised over transport options for people getting home in the late evenings. In order to resolve the issue, MLAs and local councillors have asked Translink to consider running a night time bus service.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 12:33 pm

Gerry McKeever works in the tourism industry. He said:“The guests visiting Derry are worried that if they go out somewhere, are they going to get a taxi back again?

“Night buses work well in other cities, why not in Derry? I would like to see them try it. I just hope that any passengers that use the nightbus respect it at the same time.”

“I think a night bus would be dead handy,” said Eireann Murphy.

Sisters Sinéad and Eireann Murphy. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 083

“The other night I finished work at about 11pm and I just finished a 12 hour shift. I ended up having to walk it home then. It was a good hour’s walk home after that.

“It’s an absolute nightmare trying to get home. The last bus is at about 9:30pm, so if I’m working later than that, it’s a nightmare getting home.”

Eireann’s sister Sinead believes a nightbus “would be amazing”.

“I mean I understand there are people saying there are shortages, there are.

Gerry McKeever. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 078

“I’ve been getting taxis to work grand. A bus would be perfect for more human interaction and more sense of community.”

Local actor Paul O’Doherty said this: “It doesn’t affect me as much as my sons. I find that they are having a great difficulty in terms of going out at night.

“But it’s an even bigger problem if they and their wives are looking to get home afterwards. Even during the day getting a taxi can be a nightmare for them, and sometimes I have to run them if they can’t get a taxi.”

Mohammed Ali owns a local shop in the town centre.

Paul O’Doherty. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 079

“Midweek it’s ok, but on the weekends it’s pretty difficult to get a taxi.

“When I’m in the shop here at night I do get plenty of people coming in asking me to phone a taxi for them. You try to help with them the best you can.

“To be honest I am not too sure about the nightbus with the drinking at night, I am not too sure it is a good idea.”

Jim Kelly is a local taxi driver who has worked in the industry for over 20 years.

Mohammed Ali. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 080

“Some young drivers have given up because of the overheads,” he said.

He said there were issues with the way the taxi sector is operated and suggested more incentives were need for drivers.

“I worked shifts in a factory 25/30 years ago. When you work 7pm on a Friday right through to 7am on a Monday morning, day or night, you get an unsocial shift allowance. That gets added onto your hourly rate. Taxiing is just the same.”

Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke shared his view: “Obviously it is dire straits at the minute. What you’re seeing here is less and less people going out.”

The Mayor said getting home safely is a priority for everyone.

“We have people waiting up to two hours for a taxi I would support night buses coming in to make sure people do get home safely from a night out in town.

Jim Kelly. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 082

“It would also benefit the bars and restaurants throughout the city centre.”

Mayor Alderman Graham Warke. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2136GS – 081