Concerns linger as some bus gaps are plugged

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Translink has revised its recently rolled out timetable to plug at least some of the gaps it leaves in Dromore service provision.

Introduced on September 1 the new timetable dispensed with four Lisburn-bound service buses - the 8.10am, 11.10am, 1.10pm and 1.50pm.

News of the changes saw the transport company accused of short-changing Dromore with a service unfit for a town of its size.

One woman warned of people unable to reach work on time while others would face difficulties with early morning hospital appointments and there were potential difficulties too for students, shoppers and those who needed to access Lisburn railway station. Return services came under fire for the gap between the 10.30am from Lisburn bus centre and the next bus at 2pm, and the loss of the 7.10pm.

Translink said the changes were part of its overall plans to reduce costs due to “the significant reduction in public funding in 2015/16.”

Now, the company, having recently introduced 1.05pm and 2.05pm journeys from Dromore to Belfast, has added another service - as of yesterday (Monday) - leaving Lisburn for Dromore at 12.15pm.

In a letter to Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, Tranlink’s Chief Operating Officer Philip O’Neill said: “We believe these amendments should resolve the issues relating to timetable gaps in services between Dromore and Lisburn.”

However, Mr Donaldson, who had called for a timetable review and the introduction of more “realistic” peak-time services, continues to raise constituents’outstanding concerns.

He said: “I am pleased Translink have responded to the representations we have been making on behalf of local residents and commuters and have reinstated some of the services that have been withdrawn.

“At least now we have a decent bus service over the lunchtime period which will benefit people shopping in the area. There are still some concerns over the capacity of the service, particularly when pupils are getting out of school in Lisburn and travelling back to Dromore.

“We are continuing to make representations but at least progress has been made and there’s recognition by the company that the cuts in the service really did not reflect the demand for bus services between Dromore and Lisburn and indeed Belfast.”