Carrick public is urged to ‘save bus services’

A public consultation information event was held at Carrick Train Station.  INCT 34-041-tc
A public consultation information event was held at Carrick Train Station. INCT 34-041-tc

Public transport users are urged to make their voices heard in a bid to save two of Carrickfergus Borough’s key bus routes.

A question mark hangs over the 365 Carrickfergus Town service and the 168B Carrickfergus - Antrim Area Hospital – Antrim service.

Both will be the subject of a public consultation information event at Carrickfergus Railway Station on Tuesday (March 24).

And while Translink says it intends to maintain town services, others have expressed concern.

The issue was highlighted on the picket line by public transport workers during recent strike action and the Consumer Council has flagged up the choice for passengers too.

In a statement, the council urged Carrickfergus consumers to respond to the Translink Ulsterbus Services Consultation to make sure their views are taken into consideration.

Scott Kennerley, head of Transport Policy at the Consumer Council, said: “Translink plans to reduce bus services in order to save money. It is vital that passengers express how they use bus services and the impact of reducing these.

“The consultation closes on 3 April 2015. This is an unacceptably short period of time for consumers to make their views known and we are questioning how meaningful this process will be for consumers, given the timescales involved.

“It is essential that anyone who uses these bus services takes part in the survey and where possible attends the public events to express their views.

Responding to a query from the TIMES ahead of the consultation exercise, a Translink spokesperson said: “It is our intention to maintain town services, however it will be necessary to review the frequency of these routes.

“No decisions have been made at this stage as the consultation will seek to identify what is most important to our customers to help us best design the bus network to operate within allocated resources while protecting those routes most essential to customers.”

Members of the public are invited to provide feedback on the services they use by completing a questionnaire available at bus stations and public amenities as well as on the Translink website at www.translink.co.uk/servicechanges

The public information event, where passengers can meet Translink representatives to discuss proposals, will be held at the Victoria Street station from 10.00am until 2.00pm.