Ballycastle SDLP representative Dónal Cunningham has blasted the unprecedented 36.5% budget cut to the Community Transport scheme which operates the ‘Dial a Lift’ service for individuals living in rural areas that are unable or find it difficult to use public transport.
“Community transport and the ‘Dial a Lift’ service has been a real success story in the Ballycastle area and now there is a great concern that cut to funding which is set to see the service reduced to only two days a week.
“This will be disastrous particularly for the elderly and for people on low incomes and could effectively mean the death of rural bus services.”
Mr Cunningham continued: “I acknowledge the efforts of the management at North Coast Community Transport, to manage the impossible and attempt to deliver a service which meets local needs, but the scale and scope of funding cuts for 2015 announced by DRD will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable, rurally isolated and those with mobility difficulties and will greatly increase the potential for increased social exclusion.
“If the service is lost or diminished because of a lack of funding, vulnerable pensioners will become prisoners in their own homes.”