ALLIANCE Councillors Michael (Castlereagh) and Naomi Long MLA (Belfast) have welcomed Translink’s announcement that a new bus service from Mount Merrion operating via the Ormeau Road to city centre is to be reinstated.
The announcement comes after months of Alliance lobbying for the old Number 85 service to be brought back after it was ended in March, and was confirmed in a letter from Translink to the two councillors this week.
Cllr Naomi Long said: “We received a tremendous response to our petition to restore the service, and there was clearly a strong desire within the community to see the bus service restored. It was axed at a time I was receiving many complaints about poor punctuality and reliability.
“The new Metro service will be launched in February, and it seems very likely that the Mount Merrion route will be available from then. The route will run along the Ormeau Road serving Mount Merrion, Forestside, Upper Knockbreda Road and Ladas Drive before returning via Mount Merrion and the Ormeau to the city centre on an hourly basis.
“This is a small victory for people power, but one which will make an enormous difference to the elderly, to families, students and workers who all will use the route.”
Cllr Michael Long said: “I am delighted that Translink have listened to the concerns of local people following the loss of the No. 85 service, and have agreed to restore a direct service to the city centre along the Ormeau Road from Rosetta. Since the loss of the No. 85, many people were unable to access services like the doctor and library without great difficulty and cost.
“This new route will restore the link to the Ormeau Road with a direct service.
“It is quite clear that all the hard work by residents has paid off, and I am pleased to see the link restored. While service is to be on an hourly basis to begin with, I am hopeful that the frequency will be increased if there are sufficient passenger numbers.
“I would therefore appeal to people to use this new service, and prove to Translink that they were justified in launching this new route.”