In April 2018 Disability Action received notification from the Department for Infrastructure that a further 5% funding cut would be applied to the Disability Action Transport Scheme (DATS) in the 2018/2019 financial year. 

This is on top of continued funding cuts over the past four years which have already resulted in reductions of service and fare increases for passengers.

Disability Action has worked to try to stop this cut but we are left with no choice but to consider further reductions to the DATS service from July 2018.  Over the past two months we have engaged with people who use the DATS service, our staff that deliver the service and others who have an interest in the impact this cut will have on disabled and older people in Northern Ireland.

The funding cut will mean a reduction of service from Monday 30 July:

Monday – Friday will run 8am – 6pm (instead of 8am – 8pm)
Saturday – Sunday will run for a four hour window between 9am and 3pm based on demand in each area (instead of 9am – 5pm)

This will effectively mean that disabled people and older people that depend on this service will not be able to get out and about in the evenings or afternoons at the weekends.  The impact of this will be significant and will increase social isolation and decrease quality of life. 

Fares will also have to increase and will be staggered over a year time period.  The cost of a trip will increase from £2.30 to £2.50 on Monday 30 July 2018 and will likely have to increase again in this financial year. 

Once again we are seeing cuts that will have a direct negative impact on the lives of disabled and older people.

For further information please contact DATS on Telephone: 028 9029 7870 or Textphone: 028 9029 7882 or alternatively contact your local Community Transport Provider for area specific information.