SDLP Infrastructure Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has said steps must be taken to improve bus and rail transport services.
Mr Durkan said changes were needed around service frequency and available routes in a bid to fight back against the climate crisis.
Recent figures revealed that journeys on public transport are still below pre-pandemic levels.
The Foyle MLA said:
“It’s concerning but understandable that following the coronavirus pandemic the uptake in public transport isn’t at the level we would have hoped for.
“It is great that some employers are permitting continued working from home which will reduce daily emissions, but in Northern Ireland there remains a heavy reliance on private vehicles with 70% of all journeys made by car.
“This situation has resulted in a reduction in revenue generated by ticket sales which is down from £181million in 2019-20 to £172million in 2022-23.
“That will have an impact on the provision of public transport here which was already struggling to remain viable and steps need to be taken to improve sustainability.
“Instead of a 7% increase in fares, focus should be placed on incentivising and reducing costs for public transport, we need to do everything in our power to encourage more people to use it.
“Translink should turn their attentions to the possibility of additional routes, ones that will attract more users and make public transport more accessible.
“Services like the 212 Goldline express from Derry to Belfast was very popular and I appreciate that Translink are currently considering reinstating this route.
“People use private transport because of convenience and we must explore other opportunities including the expansion of the night mover services, which runs during the Christmas period and has proved very successful.
“We need to harness and build upon what has worked previously to promote public transport and encourage people to leave their cars at home.
“This will be vital as we redouble our efforts to tackle the climate emergency.”Tags: