Cllr Michael Long said, “Given that we had asked for a meeting to discuss improving the service in Castlereagh by reinstating links from Braniel to the Holywood Arches and Mount Merrion to the Cregagh Road, I am extremely disappointed that we were informed that services are going to be cut back further with the loss of the Number 29 service which runs from Forestside to Holywood Exchange and into town. Whilst there have been rumours and concerns about the potential loss of this service, we are very disappointed at Translink’s decision.
“In particular, the service provides the only direct link from Montgomery Road to Forestside and Holywood Exchange and this will greatly affect many people living in the Lisnasharragh area. It also breaks a link for this area to the Ulster Hospital which will make it harder for the elderly and those with mobility problems. The Number 31 service had also been under threat but are pleased that this service will remain.”
Cllr Carole Howard added, “We are also disappointed that our calls for the reinstatement of the old Number 24 service from Braniel to the Holywood Arches and the old Number 34 Mount Merrion to Cregagh Road service have not found favour as recent surveys by us in these areas show that many people still miss these routes.”
East Belfast Alliance MP, Naomi Long, concluded, “Over recent years Alliance has strongly campaigned to retain and strengthen bus service provision in Castlereagh and have argued for more services to link up the Borough. Whilst we have successfully fought to save some routes such as that between Mount Merrion and the Ormeau Road, the loss of the Number 29 will see another orbital route go. We will work to see if this decision can be reversed and have already expressed our concerns to Translink about their plans.”