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Bus users say route changes aren't fare

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

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TRANSLINK have been accused of having scant regard for their customers as recent route changes to the Bessbrook and City Loop services have caused anger amongst passengers.
Gerard Harte, a resident of The Meadow - which is incorporated into both services - accused the company of not taking people's opinions into account, and believes that the decision to change is a move made by the upper echelons of Translink and not someone with an innate local knowledge.
Mr Harte said: "They've taken a completely different route. The Fr Cullen bus comes up to the Meadow, but if you want to get into town you've got to go the whole way out to Fr Cullen Park.
“The journey into the town now takes 45 minutes with the new stops.
“Someone in an office in Belfast has decided upon themselves to make this decision. It's inconveniencing people because there's also a City Loop bus that used to let people off at the Post Office in Monaghan Street, but now it goes by Barcroft."
“I was talking to another man from Bessbrook. He got on the bus at Monaghan Street at 1.05pm and he didn't get back into Bessbrook at 1.55pm. It doesn't make sense, and whoever's sat in the office and done it hasn't a baldy."
Another concerned resident, who did not wish to be named, said that the new route simply "doesn't work" for OAP's and those with limited mobility, due to the waiting times involved with the re-routing.
She said: "I think they're trying to work a one-way system, which doesn't work for us [service users] to get into Monaghan Street to get in and get your messages done.
“The system of the bus doesn't work for us. I'm getting on a bus to go to Bessbrook so it's taking me away from Monaghan Street, and taking all that time going around estates."
The pensioner, who relayed her concerns to the company, described the service as a lifeline for the elderly but thinks that their views are being disregarded.
She said: "I've asked them to pass on my complaint in the office, but I know it wasn't going any further. The bus was and is a lifeline for the people who use it. We rely on it. I don't think that they've thought about us at all. It's as if it doesn't matter about us because we're only old age pensioners."
A spokesperson for Translink said that passengers needs were central to the decision behind the route changes.
The spokesperson said: "We keep our routes under review to ensure our services meet customer demand. A review has been carried out on our services in Newry, led by our local bus operations team, which has led to some route changes to meet passenger demand.
“Stakeholders and passenger representatives were consulted and the changes were notified using posters on our buses and at Newry bus station and the new timetables are available on our website www.translink.co.uk.
“Our buses on the city loop in Newry are low floor, easy access vehicles to cater for those with reduced mobility. These changes are subject to ongoing review and assessment."

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