Particular concern was expressed at the loss of the Number 77 and 24 services from Braniel to the Holywood Arches and Newtownards Road, as well as reduced services along the dual carriageway from Lisnsharragh, especially in the mornings.
Michael Long said: “The results of these surveys clearly show that many regular users of public transport in Castlereagh are unhappy about changes to the bus service following the introduction of Metro 18 months ago. These figures are backed up by the fact that well over 700 people in Castlereagh complained about changes in the bus service last year.
“The Alliance team has campaigned across the area to seek improvements in the Metro service since its introduction, and we will continue our campaign to try and ensure that local residents get the bus service they need.
“At the time of the change, most complaints came from the Cregagh area about the loss of the Number 34 service from Mount Merrion down the Cregagh Road, but these figures illustrate general dissatisfaction right across Castlereagh Central. In the surveys, only 48% of Braniel residents were satisfied with the bus service, with many expressing concerns about their difficulty in accessing doctors’ surgeries and shops at the Holywood Arches, whilst the figure for satisfaction in Lisnasharragh was even
lower, with just 28% of regular users satisfied.
“These figures also compare poorly with the city-wide findings of the independent Customer Satisfaction Index for Metro, which shows almost 72% satisfaction levels across Belfast. This, again, suggest that Castlereagh has not benefited from Metro. Whilst the concentration of services on arterial routes may have increased passenger numbers overall, it is clear that areas on the edge of the city such as Castlereagh are losing out. We have now passed on the findings of the survey to both Translink and the General Consumers’ Council, in the hope that they may consider how to improve the service.”
Cllr Long concluded: “In order to deliver the necessary improvements, I call on Translink to reinstating services like the Number 34 and 77, as well as increasing the frequency of the Number 31, especially in the morning.”