Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has held his first meeting with a number of Rural Community Transport Partnerships to hear about the vital work they do and the challenges they face.
Minster O’Dowd said:
“Community transport organisations make a valuable contribution, particularly within rural communities, to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people are able to access essential local services, get to important medical appointments and to actively participate in society which is vital for reducing feelings of isolation.
“During the Covid pandemic they adapted their services from passenger transport to the delivery of food and medical prescriptions and later ensured people without access to transport were able to get to their vaccination appointments.
“I am pleased that my Department has been able to support them while they carry out this vital work. Most recently the Department provided funding of £1.3m to provide 13 new electric vehicles. When these are all fully operational they will not only assist the organisations in delivering their services but also help to reduce carbon emissions and support cleaner, greener travel.
“I appreciate that many community transport organisations are now facing difficulties in light of rising operational costs. The absence of an Executive and lack of an agreed budget for 2022-23 presents real challenges for the delivery of public services. However I am determined to protect services and my Department will continue to work closely with the community transport organisations and with my ministerial colleagues to address their concerns.”
Notes to editors:
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