‘Use it or lose it!’ Translink tells Ballycastle folk

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USE it or you could lose it, is the stark message from Translink regarding the Ballycastle town bus service.

The service is currently under review by the transport authorities because on average there are only two people per journey.

Translink issued a statement to the Times after Ballycastle Independent councillor Padraig McShane raised the issue of the service being withdrawn in the afternoons but has now been reinstated after his intervention.

A Translink spokesperson said: “Translink recently temporarily removed some peak time Ballycastle town services to assist with local school services. During this time however, town services from 3pm onwards (4.45pm, 5pm & 5.15pm) continued to operate from the Anzac Bar bus stop and were completely reinstated following correspondence from members of the local community.

“While we apologise for not sufficiently consulting with local stakeholders about these changes, we can confirm that town services are currently under review due to consistently low passenger numbers (an average of approximately two passengers travelling per journey).

“We would encourage residents to utilise the services in order to maintain their current levels.”

Councillor McShane said: “The transport authority had withdrawn some routes without notice in the town. I was contacted by numerous residents and the local Over 55’s Club who are prolific users of the service.

“I contacted the Service Delivery Manager in Coleraine stressing the need to retain the bus.

“Although these services were under review, the changes should not have been made without proper consultation. While the situation remains under review I am pleased the Manager has seen the benefits of reinstating the full service immediately.”

The councillor sits on a local action group that looks at transport issues and went on to stress the importance of good transport links in rural communities.

“It is clear that transport plays an important part in rural development,” he said.

“A good transport network allows local communities to access opportunities and necessities that enhance their lives.

“Locally here it is used to connect the communities with local commerce, education, employment and health and welfare facilities. We should be working to enhance and promote public transport rather than spending most of our time fighting to retain the limited service we currently have.”