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Monday, May 16, 2022

Sugden: Translink service reductions impacting local students and commuters

East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has said Coleraine university students and commuters have suffered as a result of reductions in Translink’s bus and rail services.

Services throughout Northern Ireland were reduced on January 10, due to “falling passenger numbers”, the organisation said.

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“I understand that numbers using these services have dropped amid the omicron Covid surge, but this doesn’t mean the journeys of those who still have to use buses and trains are any less vital,” Ms Sugden said.

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“I have been contacted by commuters and students – travelling both to Coleraine’s University of Ulster campus and to universities elsewhere – saying their travel arrangements have been seriously disrupted by these changes.

“The cut to services has left many struggling to attend important work and university obligations, such as exams, without viable transport options.”

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Translink said the service reductions would be in place “for at least a month”. Ms Sugden has contacted the organisation to urge them to regularly review this with a view to reverting bacl to a normal weekday timetable.

“They have said they will be doing so – that they will review the situation regularly,” she continued.

“We are seeing moves being made to ease restrictions and regulations associated with Covid, so I hope Translink follow suit and reinstate a full service for those who need it.

“This should have been in place for the return of students to face-to-face lectures at the start of the new term on Monday (January 24).

“While many restrictions are being eased more widely, it could be necessary to continue to urge travellers to keep wearing masks while on public transport – to give confidence to those more at risk from Covid and for the wider public health effects.”

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