CTA concerned about changes to the RTF introduced by the Review of Public Administration - Media News.
The CTA is in broad agreement with the government proposals to reduce bureauracy and bring the delivery of local services closer to the users. However, Director for Northern Ireland, Bryan Myles, has concerns that anomalies in the re-structuring of the Rural Transport Fund will result in confusion and uncertainty for Rural Community Transport Partnerships (RCTP), their staff, volunteers and thousands of users.
The decision to move responsibility for the Rural Transport Fund from the Department of Regional Development to the new local councils appears to be poorly thought through especially in light of the wide range of transport programmes administered by the Department. The result will be that the Department will be left administering a number of transport programmes which target social need and the council will be running a parallel transport programme which will result in unnecessary duplication of bureaucracy and administration of local transport.
The transfer of responsibility of the Rural Transport Fund to the new councils will give the local council another enhanced power but there is also concern that there will be no overall strategy for the Rural Transport Fund provided by the Department. According to Bryan Myles, “community transport users will be best served by local operators if there a clear regional strategy which can inform the policies of the six or seven local councils involved.”
The CTA will be working strenuously to ensure that the changes to the Rural Transport Fund will not result in a basic cost-saving exercise at the expense of some of our most vulnerable members of society.