The amount paid out in bus accident compensation in Northern Ireland amounted to nearly £2 million in the five-year period from April 2010 to April 2015.
Northern Ireland public transport services are run by Translink – a company responsible for operating Citybus, Ulsterbus, the Metro and Goldlink bus services and the NI Railway. In the five-year period from April 2010 to April 2015, the company paid out £1,647,000 injury compensation plus a further £301,000 compensation for material damage in bus accidents according to figures released by Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen.
Ms McIlveen was responding to an Assembly question from SDLP MLA John Dallat – who sits on the province´s regional development committee. Mr Dallat described the payouts of bus accident compensation in Northern Ireland as “horrendous” and said that the board of Translink needed to implement measures that would avoid bus accidents, and also review its policy on defending claims for bus accident compensation in Northern Ireland.
Translink issued a statement in which it said it was committed to delivering the highest safety standards for passengers and other road users. However, transport unions said that budget cuts were having a “devastating impact” on public safety. Last year the Department for Regional Development cut Translink´s budget by £13 million. Further cutbacks were made after the company recorded a £8.4 million loss.
A Translink spokesperson said: “It is important to put some context around these figures which cover a five-year period. The level of compensation paid out is less than 0.5% of our annual revenue, and more importantly, Translink’s annual level of compensation is also amongst the lowest paid out when benchmarked against other UK operators. We carry around 80 million passenger journeys every year and their safety is a top priority for everyone at Translink”.