“While I had given approval on a range of average fare increases..”

Interesting detail from the latest BBC report on the Translink bus and rail fares increases announced last week – On 4th May NI Railways fares were to increase by an average of 3%, while Ulsterbus and Goldline fares by 2%, and Enterprise cross-border rail tickets were to cost 10% more, coach journeys by 13%. The increases were deferred when the Consumer Council complained about a lack of consultation. Today, Department of Regional Development deputy secretary Doreen Brown told the NI Assembly Regional Development Committee that “the committee did not receive prior notification of previous price changes and argued, as did Translink representatives, that the usual procedures had been followed.” Meanwhile, the NI Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, took time out from talking about Executive papers still to be discussed, and met with the Consumer Council.

Mr Murphy described the meeting as “positive and constructive”. “We reassured the Consumer Council about what we expected their role in this process to be – quite clearly there was a breakdown in that,” he said. “While I had given approval on a range of average fare increases, the Consumer Council felt they hadn’t been involved in the detail of that to the extent they would have liked.”