Mid Ulster’s rural transport service facing 20 per cent shortfall

Just four of the CDM Transport Fleet
Just four of the CDM Transport Fleet
  • Rural Community Transport membership has increased from £5 to £20 a year
  • Department of Regional Development has reduced its budget by over £100k
  • The service provides invaluable transport for Mid Ulster’s elderly rural dwellers

Cookstown’s Rural Community Transport is facing a funding shortfall of over £100,000 to its budget for 2015/16, it has been revealed.

The proposed cut equates to a drop of just over 20 per cent in the charitable organisation’s budget from the Department of Regional Development and will see £111,034 taken from their initial award for 2015/16 of £443,084.

The figures were revealed following a question to Danny Kennedy by Claire Sugden, the Independent MLA for East Londonderry.

It means that of the £315,066 total cut in DRD funding to the Rural Community Transport Partnership (RCTP) - which is made up of eight separate groups spread across the country - the Cookstown/Dungannon group, CDM, will absorb over a third.

The organisation has already raised its prices for membership from £5 to £20 per year.

The Rural Transport Fund (RTF) has been in existence in N. Ireland since November 1998. Its primary objective is to support transport services designed to give people in rural areas improved access to work, education, healthcare, shopping and recreational activities and by so doing assists in reducing their social isolation.

In another question to the minister by Alliance’s Chris Lyttle MLA, it was disclosed that an estimated thirty per cent of the £3.63 million total DRD funding to the Rural Community Transport Partnership (RCTP) went towards administration staff costs.