A STRABANE woman has welcomed confirmation there will be a permanent wheelchair space available on all of Translink’s Goldline fleet of buses from later this month.
Wheelchair user Jade Kelly said the move, announced recently by Stormont Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon, was a positive development.
Jade explained, “I wouldn’t be using buses much these days due to the pandemic, but this is great news. What really frustrated me was the 24-hour notice (in order to be able to use a bus for travel), so I’m delighted that’s gone. I believe that we, as wheelchair users, should be treated equally.”
The change is due to take effect from Monday, July 26.
West Tyrone MLA, Daniel McCrossan, said he began correspondence with the Minister on the issue after receiving complaints from constituents about the lack of access on public transport, as well as the process required to try and ensure their needs were met.
Mr McCrossan said, “Disabled constituents have lobbied me intensely over the past few months stating that it was unfair that they had to give 24 hours notice in order to be able to use a bus for travel.
“They stated it is sometimes impossible to plan a full day ahead of travelling and that disabled passengers should be given the same treatment as able-bodied passengers. I fully agreed with them.
“I took this issue to the Minister on their behalf and outlined the concerns of local disability campaigners. I am delighted to learn that all Goldline services will have a permanent wheelchair space available and the requirement for 24 hours’ notice will no longer be in place.”
Mr McCrossan added, “This is a very positive move in the right direction, and I thank the Minister for that. However, much more does need to be done for local bus services and for train services to ensure that there are no barriers at all for disabled users. I will continue to lobby Minister Mallon and Translink on this issue.”