INFRASTRUCTURE Minister John O’Dowd has held his first meeting with a number of Rural Community Trans-port Partnerships to hear about the vital work they do and the challenges they face.
Mr O’Dowd said: “Community transport organisations make a valuable contribution, par-
ticularly within rural com-munities, to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people are able to access essential local services, get to important medical appointments and to actively participate in society, which is vital for reducing feelings of isolation.
“During the Covid pandemic they adapted their services from passenger transport to
the delivery of food and medical prescriptions and later
ensured people without acc-ess to transport were able to get to their vaccination appointments.
“I am pleased that my department has been able to support them while they carry out this vital work.
“Most recently the depart-ment provided funding of £1.3m to provide 13 new electric vehicles.
“When these are all fully operational they will not only assist the organisations in delivering their services but also help to reduce carbon emissions and support cleaner, greener travel.
“I appreciate that many community transport organ-isations are now facing difficulties in light of rising operational costs. The absence of an Executive and lack of an agreed budget for 2022-23 presents real challenges for the delivery of public services.
“However, I am determined to protect services and my department will continue to work closely with the community transport organ-isations and with my ministerial colleagues to address their concerns.”
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.