Portadown bus services under threat and fares are to rise

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Bus services in Portadown and Armagh are reportedly among those at risk if budget cuts go ahead.

Translink is facing cuts of £15 million as the Department of Regional Development (DRD) attempts to make total savings of around £65 million for 2015/16.

According to the DRD, the plans are still at proposal stage but they include withdrawal of town services across one city and 13 towns, an increase in fares and job losses.

Both Translink and the DRD said they were unable to confirm which towns will be affected but a report by the Belfast Telegraph claimed both Armagh and Portadown will have their town services withdrawn, and train services between Portadown and Larne will be reduced.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said, “The impacts of the reduction on my budget have not been agreed at this stage. However, the financial constraints are so great that there will certainly be very difficult decisions ahead.”

A Translink spokesperson said the withdrawal or reduction of services would focus on those routes which are less used.

A draft budget consultation document for 2015/16 is currently out for public consultation and can be found at www.drdni.gov.uk/spending-and-savings-proposals-draft-budget-2015-16.

The closing date for responses is December 29.

It emerged on Thursday that fares on buses and trains are to rise from next February - by more than three times the rate of inflation.

Translink said the average increase on NI Railways journeys would be 4.5%.