“We see the buses go by the bottom of the road every afternoon and we’re spitting with anger.”
Disabled and vulnerable Dungannon residents have spoken of their anger and frustration after Translink cuts have left South Tyrone Hospital the only hospital in the North without a bus service.
People living in the White City area of the town, as well as Northland Village and Killymerron Park, now face long treks to the nearest bus stops after Translink cancelled services through the estates from September 1.
The cutbacks also mean that no town bus now stops at the hospital.
Infuriated residents have complained that Translink launched the changes without consultation or consideration of the serious impact they would have on vulnerable members of the community.
“I was incredulous when I heard they were stopping the bus going through our estate”, said Kevin Rafferty, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
“I have regular appointments at the South Tyrone hospital’s clinics and also with my GP who’s also based at the site, and was totally dependent on the bus service.
“They tell us that the buses can no longer go through the estates because of the traffic and weight restrictions, yet school buses and lorries are constantly using the same roads.
About a dozen fuming residents complained to the Tyrone Times about the move, with one elderly resident claiming that she had to spend £24 over three days to attend clinics at the hospital and with her GP.
“Many of us are having to rely on neighbours and family to ferry us on essential runs”, she said.
“I haven’t been able to get into the town centre. It’s like we are completely cut off from the rest of the town.”
Independent Republican Councillor Barry Monteith commended the pensioners for ‘not lying down and accepting the changes.’
“This is a vital service that is being lost right across the town in different estates”, he said. “Everyone should support these residents, who are just trying to go about their daily lives. We are seeing services being cut right across the board and enough is enough.”
He called on Translink to reverse the decision.