Translink says ‘No’ to Crossmaglen service
SDLP Slieve Gullion Councillor Geraldine Donnelly has expressed her disappointment at Translink’s decision not to provide an evening/night bus service from Newry to Crossmaglen but has welcomed plans by the company to extend existing services from Crossmaglen to Cullaville.
Speaking to Newry Times, Councillor Donnelly explained, “I was approached by several concerned residents in Crossmaglen who wanted to see an evening/night time bus service from Newry and as a result of those discussions met with Translink officials to lobby them for such a service and also to seek an extension of the current service through to Cullaville.
“Further to a recent meeting with Translink, local officials have looked at both proposals and have ruled out an evening service from Newry but have given positive indications that the existing service will be extended to Cullaville.
The local Councillor continued, “While I welcome the move to extend the service to Cullaville I am deeply disappointed that Translink has not recognised the need for an evening service from Newry.
“Crossmaglen and surrounding hinterland is an extensively rural area and Newry is a place where a lot of people in the South Armagh area work. The public transport link is limited and I feel does not meet local need.
“There are a lot of people from Crossmaglen, Silverbridge and Cullaville and surrounding villages who work in Daisy Hill Hospital and several businesses and factories in Newry.
“These local people work shifts and not nine to five and as a result have to rely on their own transport to get to and from work. The local bus service simply does not meet the needs of our people and yet again this is another example of the people of South Armagh being left isolated from public services to which they are entitled.”
Councillor Donnelly explained that in their response to her lobbying for an evening service from Newry, Translink said that they had looked at this option periodically over the last 10 years and that each time it was evaluated it ‘could not be justified on a fiscal and passenger number basis.’
She added that the response from Translink also said, ‘There is no area of Northern Ireland that can make a late evening/night service pay and this is even more so in rural areas.”
However, Councillor Donnelly did welcome the positive aspect of the response which stated, “What we are working on at the minute is an extension to our Crossmaglen service to Cullaville which we feel will be more beneficial.
“Information has shown us that elderly people like to come to Newry post 09:00 and return home pre 15:00 so they avoid the school buses and get a few hours in Newry.”
Donnelly added, “While I welcome the fact that an extension to the current service through to Cullaville is being looked at positively, I feel that Translink has not recognised fully the demands put on people in rural areas like South Armagh.”
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