As a member of the Department of Regional Development Committee in the Assembly I raise my concerns about the proposed cuts. The Committee agreed that I along with the chair of the Committee, Fred Cobaine, should meet the top DRD officials responsible for transport. At this meeting I made the following points:
- That Translink did not carry out the prior consultation as required and in particular an equality impact assessment.
- Why should the funding for the Bangor Easibus be withdrawn when the Easibus service in Belfast and Derry continue?
- The proposed alternative, the town service, cannot access everywhere that Easibus serves at present.
- The popular door-to-door service would not be able to meet the additional demand.
I also asked a number of questions provided by Omnibus Partnership regarding the demand for the various services.
The Department argued that the demand for the Easibus service did not justify continuing funding. I did not accept this and argued that the demand was quite significant at around 25,000 journeys per year and the loss of this service would create great hardship for many vulnerable people. The Department accepted that the initial consultation had been inadequate but that Translink had now carried out full consultation.
I welcome the opportunity to make these points to the top department officials and while I am disappointed at their response I will continue to support the campaign to have the funding restored.