North Down councillor Peter Weir has welcomed the news that the Door-2-Door Transport schemes in Bangor and Newtownards are to merge.
The Door-2-Door scheme is a local transport service for elderly and disabled people living in urban areas who find it difficult using mainstream public transport.
Mr Weir said: “I would like to welcome the news that the Minister for Regional Development (Conor Murphy) has decided to merge the Bangor and Newtownards Door-2-Door Transport service.
“As Door-2-Door is meant to cater for local journeys, this is a highly significant decision as it means journeys between Bangor and Newtownards will be treated as a local trip, and it should ease the ability of users to book the trip, with more of a guarantee that their journey will be accommodated in the scheme.
“This has been an issue ongoing for some time, and it is of great relief to many constituents who regularly use this important service. I had been contacted by users who were concerned about the service being reduced.
“The Door-2-Door service is a crucial means of mobility, and this latest progress to accommodate the needs of its users and extend its operation area is certainly a positive step forward.”
The Door-2-Door Transport service is available from 7.30am until 11.30pm every day of the week. Each single journey is charged at a flat rate of £1.50 to travel within a member’s local area and all vehicles operating the scheme are fully wheelchair accessible.
Members of the scheme can also book journeys beyond their local area at an additional cost, however priority is given to members who wish to make local journeys.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Regional Development (DRD) said members of the schemes in Bangor and Newtownards, as well as local political representatives, had approached them about combining both services.
“As part of ongoing discussions with stakeholders, the DRD considered this suggestion,” the spokeswoman said.
“Following agreement with Chambers Coach Hire who operate the service in both the Bangor and Newtownards areas, DRD have been able to accommodate the amalgamation of these areas within the existing contract. As a result, from August 18, members of the scheme in Bangor and Newtownards have been able to travel within an amalgamated area.
“We are delighted to introduce this change to the service we provide which will allow Bangor and Newtownards members to access local services across both of these areas.”
If anyone would like more information about the Door-2-Door scheme contact DRD on 08459 800 800.