Public Transport Reform Consultation Launched
Transport Minister, Conor Murphy today launched a public consultation on proposals to reform the arrangements for the planning and delivery of public transport.
The Minister said: “I want to make public transport people’s first choice, not last resort. Our public transport legislation is outdated - it is over 40 years since the last major revision. These significant reform proposals will ensure the provision of a customer-focused, high quality, integrated public transport system that will put a greater focus on delivering efficient, affordable services that are responsive to local needs.
The proposals reflect good practice and the lessons learned in other regions, while also meeting the requirements of new European legislation.
Mr Murphy continued: “In order to bring these changes about, it is proposed to establish a public transport agency, within the Department for Regional Development (DRD). The agency would be responsible for planning and specifying the public transport services required and for managing the contracts in order to achieve the best possible services for customers. The new arrangements will bring together within a single organisation all the public transport functions that are currently spread across a number of divisions of DRD, the Department of the Environment and the publicly-owned operator, Translink. The new arrangements will provide greater clarity about roles and responsibilities in the transport sector.
“I have ruled out privatisation. Public transport will continue to operate within a regulated system and Translink, as our publicly owned transport operator, will continue to be the main provider of public transport.”
The reform programme will allow new arrangements that will benefit public transport users including:
• An improved focus on customers’ travel needs, with the introduction of integrated local transport plans;
• Performance based contracts that would include measures of importance to customers - reliability, punctuality and customer service;
• Improved integration of timetables and ticketing between different transport modes and providers
• The regulation of fares, to ensure that increases are kept to a minimum and services are provided as efficiently as possible;
• Access to bus stations and shared facilities for private operators delivering public transport services;
• Improved operational and investment planning;
• An integrated approach to decision making on public
transport and road space usage such as bus priority, park and ride, congestion, car parks and traffic management which will improve the public transport experience.
The Minister said: “I am committed to providing a modern, sustainable, safe public transportation system which benefits society, the economy and the environment, and which actively contributes to social inclusion and improving quality of life. There will be a series of public meetings across the North over the next few months and I would encourage the public to give their views on the reform proposals.”