Rural Transport Fund (RTF)

The Rural Transport Fund (RTF) is administered by the Department and has been in existence in Northern Ireland since November 1998. Its primary objective is to support transport services designed to give people in rural areas improved access to work, education, healthcare, shopping and recreational activities and by so doing assists in reducing their social isolation.

How the RTF helps

The RTF offers support through revenue funding for Rural Community Transport Partnerships that offer a range of complementary services to the public transport network for their members.

How the RTF achieve its objectives

Through means of a partnership between central government, and community transport sectors, the RTF seeks to provide solutions to the transport problems faced by many people living in rural areas.

The projects supported by the RTF are required to demonstrate that they fulfil some or all of the following criteria:

  • target social need by improving rural peoples access to training or employment opportunities
  • complement the work of other agencies involved in the development of rural communities
  • support a wide range of community-based activities and have a broad base of community support
  • encourage volunteering activity

Supporting the Community Transport Association

The RTF also provides financial support to the Community Transport Association (CTA) which offers training, advice and information to the community transport sector.

Rural Community Transport

There are Rural Community Transport Partnerships in all parts of Northern Ireland. The Dial a Lift scheme provided by the Rural Community Transport Partnerships is a service for people living in rural areas who are unable or find it difficult to use public transport. To use the rural services a person must become a member of their local Community Transport organisation and meet the following criteria:

  • an individual must live in a rural area, that is an area not covered by the interim urban Disability Action Transport Scheme
  • have difficulty accessing everyday services due to a lack of transport

You can find out more about Dial a Lift at the link below:

Payment of the RTF grant

Public Transport Division administers the payment of RTF grant and maintains a close working relationship with all 11 partnerships and CTA. Each year, all of the partnerships seeking funding, submit an application form which demonstrates how it can meet the objectives of the RTF. The application forms are assessed by the Division and outputs and outcomes are regularly monitored. 

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