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Rural transport to be pushed into all areas

3 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy MP MLA has said that a scheme to provide door to door transport for those who have problems getting around is to be rolled out into rural areas in the new year.

The Minister said it was important that the Rural Transport Fund (RTF), which is administered by his Department, is accessible to as many people as possible and he was keen to see it fully utilised.

Mr Murphy told representatives from 19 rural community transport partnerships at a recent reception in Armagh that they would have a vital role to play in rolling the scheme out to groups and individuals in rural areas throughout the North.

Mr Murphy said he wanted to see a greater focus on providing personalised transport services to those rural dwellers who are disabled or socially excluded. These new services will be modelled on the recently introduced urban Door-to-Door scheme which has proved to be very successful.

Mr Murphy said:

"The Rural Community Transport Partnerships have for many years provided a lifeline service to rural dwellers and I want to thank all of you for the commitment you have shown. You should be very proud of your achievements.

"But much still needs to be done and the actions I have described today will allow us to refocus our efforts and meet the needs of those rural dwellers who depend on these important services."

Other changes announced by the Minister were the introduction of a generic membership criteria and pricing schedule to be used by all the partnerships and a new scheme where larger groups can avail of RTF transport services.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The RTF was introduced here in 1998 and provides revenue support for 19 Rural Community Transport Partnerships and to Translink to provide rural public transport services in rural areas.
  2. Currently there are 19 Rural Community Transport Partnerships (RCTPs) providing transport for individuals and groups in rural areas. The announcement by the Minister will change the level and type of service offered by the RCTPs to ensure that a greater number of rural dwellers can avail of RTF supported transport services.
  3. The services provided by Translink were also subject to review and changes to service delivery will be incorporated in the Ulsterbus Strategic Review.

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