Armstrong says more rural transport money needed

Alliance 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.

“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.”

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