Armstrong Says More Rural Transport Funding Needed

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dn_screenAlliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said an injection of money into rural areas to enable access to essential services needs to be extended more widely.

Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong, who is a former Director of the Community Transport Association, was speaking after Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard announced money go towards the Regional Community Transport ‘Dial-a-Lift’ service, which provides links for vulnerable people living in remote rural areas and who are unable to use public or private transport to access services. The funding will help groups in the Cookstown and Magherafelt areas.

Strangford MLA Kellie  Armstrong.
Strangford MLA Kellie Armstrong.

“Any money going towards alleviating the difficulties many vulnerable people have in accessing conventional transport has to be gladly received,” said Ms Armstrong.

“However, given my former role, I know more needs to be done. As such, I would have liked to have seen the investment extended more widely to benefit rural dwellers across the whole of Northern Ireland.

“While the additional investment will enable a temporary increase to provision in Mid-Ulster and East and North Antrim, I encourage the Minister and his Department to create a longer-term budget to enable sustainable transport options to be provided, rather than continued short-term projects. Doing the latter only raises passenger expectations, creating disappointment when the temporary funding stops.”

Down News understands the areas to benefit from this funding package are in Cookstown, Magherafelt, North Coast and South Antrim areas.

Hazzard Says £822,000 funding boost will facilitate an additional 48,500 ‘Dial-a-Lift’ trips for rural dwellers

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has announced a £822,000 three year Executive funded package for an extension of the Regional Community Transport ‘Dial-a-Lift’ service to provide around 48,500 trips for rural dwellers over the next three years.

The funding boost comes from the Social Investment Fund which is administered by The Executive Office.

Minister Chris Hazzard said: “I am determined to improve transport connections for everyone and I am delighted that officials in The Executive Office, my Department and the organisations concerned have been able to work in a joined up way to deliver this project.

“This significant funding from the Social Investment Fund will enable a number of Rural Community Transport Operators to improve transport links for the most vulnerable people who live in remote rural areas and are unable to, or find it difficult to, use public transport to access services that many of us take for granted.”