Public transport must suit the needs of consumers
The Northern Ireland Affairs Office report on the effectiveness of public transport in Northern Ireland (News, April 21) indicates that the Department for Regional Development needs to do more to get people out of their cars and onto public transport.
Consumer Council research has shown that the convenience of the car is one of the main reasons why many people do not use public transport. In addition, in many instances, public transport does not take people to the places they need to go, or at the times they need to travel.
Consumers have also consistently told us that cheaper fares would encourage them to use public transport more.
Measures to prioritise public transport and encourage people out of their cars would be more effective if services were considered by passengers to represent good value for money. Our research has also shown that measures to discourage car use, such as road tolls, congestion charging and reduced availability of parking, do not necessarily encourage people to consider public transport.
The Consumer Council believes there is need to understand what consumers' travel needs are and then design a public transport system to meet those needs.
The department needs to design public transport services that take people where they need to go; at the times they need to travel and at a price they are willing to pay.
Head of transport policy