Transport
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22nd August 2006

PASSENGERS ARE CENTRE STAGE IN NEW GOVERNMENT BLUEPRINT FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The Consumer Council today welcomed Government plans to transform public transport here. The statement came in response to David Cairns’ announcement that a new Passenger Transport Authority will put passengers at the heart of how public transport is planned and delivered in an open and transparent way.</p>

Welcoming the announcement, Eleanor Gill, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said: “Passengers have stated loud and clear that they want responsive, quality, value for money public transport. The Government has consulted closely with the Consumer Council and other key stakeholders on the vital issue of how we modernise the planning and delivery of public transport services here to ensure that they are efficient, effective and accountable to the paying public. The Minister's announcement today demonstrates that he has listened and responded with a clear way forward to meet the future needs of new and existing bus and train passengers.

“There is much to be done, but this is an important step towards developing a passenger-focussed, sustainable and integrated public transport system that gets more people out of the car and onto our buses and trains.  While there has been undoubted growth in use of Metro and Goldliner, we can't be complacent if we are to deliver sustainable public transport.  In the last five years, there have been nearly 4.5 million fewer bus journeys made.  This shake-up must help reverse this decline in the long term.”

Commenting on some of the benefits for passengers, Eleanor Gill continued: 

“We welcome the fact that the passengers' voice will be heard at all levels of this new system through formal consumer representation and input.  Public transport has an impact on everyone's quality of life.  Importantly, in line with the principles of the Review of Public Administration, local people will have full input into decisions affecting the planning and delivery of public transport. 

“While Translink will continue to be the major bus and train operator here, the arrangements will allow for more competition in public transport provision in an integrated and managed way with appropriate regulation and consumer input built-in.“

This is a timely announcement when many aspects of public transport are under review including taxi services, concessionary fares and rural transport, as well as the comprehensive review of spending to ensure that we are getting full value for every penny invested in public transport.

  1. Consumer Council media contact: Susie Brown, telephone, 028 9067 4807 or e-mail, [email protected]
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland's consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about electricity, natural gas, coal and passenger transport.
  3. For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk
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