The Benbradagh councillor said: “Whilst I very much welcome the Department’s confirmation that a park and ride will now be progressed after much lobbying by Sinn Fein representatives, it is disappointing that the scheme wasn’t progressed sooner and allowed for more consultation with the community before plans were released.
“My colleagues had several meetings with DfI (Department for Infrastructure) officials while we pushed to ensure this scheme was delivered and we urged officials to consider a location within the town’s limits. Unfortunately a suitable location that offered the required space and logistical requirements of Translink could not be secured.
“The proposed location of the new park and ride approximately three miles outside of Dungiven means the loss of a very valuable transport resource in the heart of the community and as such mitigations by the department need to be introduced to ensure Dungiven is not further disadvantaged. This means a shuttle service should be offered to ensure those without access to car transport can still access the popular 212 Express service.”
Councillor McGurk added that she undertook a review of rural transport in the wider Dungiven area in 2019 and presented her findings to Translink who had committed to increase services from some surrounding villages to Dungiven to the current 212 services.
“Unfortunately due to Covid these increased services didn’t get the chance to be implemented. However it is clear that this commitment could be widened further to include a fully developed shuttle service between Dungiven and surrounding villages to the new park and ride location.”
The Sinn Fein councillor concluded: “I will be meeting with officials from DfI on Thursday morning and I will raise these concerns here.
“I will also be attending the public consultation event being held remotely on Thursday evening and would encourage all residents from Dungiven and the surrounding area to do the same and make their voice heard.”