Minister must look at further support for bus and coach operators

DUP MLA Keith Buchanan has called on the Infrastructure Minister to look again at support for bus and coach operators who have seen their business impacted by Covid restrictions. The call comes after the Minister failed to bid for funding from the Finance Minister in the most recent January Monitoring Round.

By Keith Buchanan Candidate

Mid Ulster

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The Mid Ulster MLA said, "Previous support offered to bus and coach operators has been absolutely essential for many of them to continue in business. There is cautious optimism that we may finally be starting to move out of the pandemic. These firms however continue to feel the impact of restrictions and will also be one of the last to see the benefits when restrictions are eased.

I have been asking the Minister for some time to look at how she can support this vital part of the transport sector. I know the Infrastructure Committee Chair Jonathan Buckley has also been seeking a meeting with the Minister on this matter for nearly two weeks now but has had no indication the Minister will even meet with him.

This would be a relatively small and targeted scheme which would not overwhelm any government department in relation to the administration involved. It is a sector however which directly employs over 3,000 people and without support many firms could cease to exist. 84% of companies have reported a reduction in income of more than 40% during October and November 2021.

If we are serious about supporting public transport then that must include these firms which play a key role in this infrastructure across Northern Ireland."

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