Alliance concerned at “English solution for an NI problem” on transport

Alliance Party Environment Spokesperson Stewart Dickson has said the party welcomes moves towards a more efficient and futuristic public transport system – but cautioned the Government that there cannot be an English solution to a Northern Ireland problem.

The Carrickfergus Councillor and Party Local Government Whip stated: “People will rightly be concerned that this looks like an attempt to introduce an English system entirely inappropriate for our needs here in Northern Ireland.

“Very little public transport in Northern Ireland is profitable. Most of it is social transport. There is a very real risk that opening up the system in the way the Government proposes will simply leave private companies to cream off the profitable routes, leaving a chronically underfunded Translink to try to cover routes requiring subsidy. That is no way to operate a public transport system.

“There is little here to help the railways either. These are already horribly underfunded, and there is little evidence that the Government’s proposed cash injection will address this. Let us not forget that every penny spent on public transport is saved in congestion and pollution.

“We have no objection to changing and improving public transport services. But they must be done in a way which reflects the purpose of public transport – to deliver subsidised services to those who need them.

“If we want a Northern Ireland solution to this Northern Ireland problem, this is yet another case where we need a fully operational local Assembly.”


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