Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney has described his meeting with senior Translink management representatives to review local bus and rail network provision in the constituency as very constructive.
Following the meeting Declan Kearney said:
“This meeting received a presentation from Translink senior management representatives on the organisation’s corporate strategic plan for the future. We also reviewed local service provision across the bus and rail network throughout South Antrim, and discussed where specific gaps appear to exist; such as the lack of access for rural localities like Creggan; and also between the towns of Antrim, Randalstown, Crumlin, and Lisburn.
“During our meeting Cllr Henry Cushinan and I also raised local bus shelter provision, including the case for the installation of shelters at both Carnbeg in Antrim, and on the Glenavy Road opposite Lyngrove estate in Glenavy village. My office will be corresponding presently with Translink on these issues.
“In addition, we stressed the importance of reopening the Knockmore Line, which remains deactivated within the regional rail network. I highlighted local support for resuming this rail link to address connectivity between Antrim, Crumlin, Lisburn, Glenavy, Ballinderry and Moira. I pointed out that reintroduction of the Knockmore Line would also create a new potential opportunity for designing a strategic rail connection with Belfast International Airport (BIA).
“I also made the case for enhanced bus service connections with the airport to serve both customers and airport staff. It is essential that a new strategic planning approach is taken towards coordinating public transport access with the airport so that we can maximise its role as an economic driver for the regional and island economies. I am encouraging close engagement between both Translink and BIA managements to take this forward.
“Whilst Translink is inevitably challenged by funding and work force planning constraints, our meeting was very constructive. We agreed that where possible, service provision should be improved to increase local accessibility, and that good, reliable, and environmentally sustainable public transport must be an overall shared objective for South Antrim.”