We need to improve public transport locally if we are to grasp opportunities, says Beaumont

Transport Matthew Beaumont Fermanagh and South Tyrone

We need to improve public transport links across Fermanagh and Tyrone if we are to grasp the opportunities presented to us after the pandemic, Alliance representative Matthew Beaumont has said.

Recently selected by local members as Alliance’s representative for the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency, Mr Beaumont said as we emerge from the worst of the problems caused by COVID-19, we can learn lessons and avoid going back to the way things were before the pandemic hit.

“The past year has seen more people working from home and fewer vehicles on our roads as a result, leading to less pressure on our environment. If we are to continue that, there needs to be a real push towards public transport,” he said.

“However, while the main population centres across the counties – Enniskillen, Omagh and Dungannon – have reasonable connections that could still see some improvements, we have a growing population who live outside those three towns and who are served by poor public transport links and insufficient services.

“Some of our villages have one bus service a day and some don’t even have that, while some have a service which goes into Enniskillen in the morning but there is no return service. The lack of train links west of the Bann is well known. That simply isn’t good enough.

“If we are to encourage people to leave the car behind, use public transport and continue to help the environment in the way they have been doing for the past year, then things need to be improved. It is understandable there’s pressures on public finances but this is a chance for change, to not simply go back to what we did before. We need to take the opportunity.”