Translink pays £2m compensation over bus accidents
Translink has been hit by a near £2m compensation bill after accidents caused by its buses.
Over £1.6m was paid out for personal injury claims and £300,000 spent for damage resulting from incidents involving its fleet.
The figures, which cover the last five years, were released by Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen, and come just months after a union warned that budget cuts were having a "devastating impact" on public safety at Translink.
However, the operator said it was committed to delivering the highest safety standards.
Details of Translink's compensation bill were released after an Assembly question from SDLP MLA John Dallat. Between April 2010 and April 2015, settlements totalling £1,948,000 were made. The majority (£1,647,000) related to personal injury claims. A further £301,000 was spent following claims for material damage.
The figures cover Ulsterbus, Citybus and Metro vehicles, but not NI Railways. Compensation awards show a downward trend, with £227,000 paid out in 2014/15 compared to £629,000 in 2010/11.
Mr Dallat, who sits on Stormont's regional development committee, said the costs were "horrendous". He added: "The board (at Translink) would need to review its policy on defending claims and strategy for avoiding situations which lead to payouts."
Last year Translink revealed trading losses of £8.4m, the worst in its history. It followed £13m in cutbacks by the Department for Regional Development during the previous financial year.
A Translink spokesperson said: "It is important to put some context around these figures which cover a five-year period. The level of compensation paid out is less than 0.5% of our annual revenue, and more importantly, Translink's annual level of compensation is also amongst the lowest paid out when benchmarked against other UK operators.
"We carry around 80m passenger journeys every year and their safety is a top priority for everyone at Translink. We are committed to maintaining our high safety standards across the business and have comprehensive procedures in place to fully and thoroughly investigate all claims."