Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Need for investment in public transport

12 May, 2004

Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast Bairbre de Brún this morning welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Age Concern / General Consumer Council Transport Challenge. The aim of the challenge was to see public representatives making the kind of average journey an older person might make by public transport, from home to work, to collect children from school, or to use a number of public services such as hospitals.

Speaking during the challenge Ms de Brún said: '"While knowing the problems faced by many people who use public transport every day, today's exercise provides politicians like myself with first hand experience. It also highlights some of the particular challenges faced by people who themselves have limited mobility.

'Today's transport challenge has shown me some of the practical difficulties faced by those who depend solely on our public transport system. Decades of underinvestment in buses and trains, and in local transport companies such as the West Belfast Taxi Association, means that the general public face extra hurdles when travelling by public transport.

'The Bus lanes in parts of Belfast give those useing public transport an added advantage. This shows that when you do give priority to public transport it makes a difference. This needs to be folowed through.

'I want to congratulate Age Concern and the Consumer Council for their initiative and certainly I have learned to remember the huge impact this issue has on many people.

We all need to treat the development of public transport more seriously. Until we do, the line of private cars with clogging our roads every day will not be reduced.' ENDS

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