Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon yesterday (Wednesday) chaired a meeting in Leinster House of all Kildare TDs with representatives of South Kildare Community Transport and Offaly and Kildare Community Transport Ltd to hear their concerns about the future of the rural transport programme.

“There was a united voice in support of the valuable work carried out by the two rural transport companies operating in Co. Kildare from all the TDs present.  It was acknowledged that many of the advantages of the programme are about much more than just transport.  In many cases issues of social exclusion, isolation and depression have been alleviated through regular contact with the rural transport bus and its staff.”

“The Rural Transport companies operating in Kildare have built the programme into a valuable resource making over 118,000 passenger journeys in 2012.  It has become a lifeline to many people living in remote areas who would otherwise find it difficult to access public transport.  It has created links with other organization through the carrying of KARE patients as well students to Maynooth College.”

“As a group, all seven TDs representing Co. Kildare agreed to work together on a submission to Minister of State at the Department of Transport on this important issue.”

“While value for money is critical for all state services at present, in this situation we need to ensure that we are measuring fully all the benefits that the Rural Transport Programme in Co. Kildare provides and making them clear to the Minister.”