Alliance Leader David Ford is calling on the Department of Regional Development to take action to improve local transport services and will also be meeting the head of Translink about rail services in County Antrim.
David Ford said:
“The Roads Service has announced very expensive plans to widen the M2 between Sandyknowes and Greencastle, even though this will have limited value in improving journey times for local commuters travelling into Belfast. I am also concerned, given the frequency of minor accidents when the motorway is congested, that another lane down this steep hill will merely add to the dangers.
“As part of the proposals, Roads Service has acknowledged the value of a bus lane along the hard shoulder on the approach to Sandyknowes. The existing bus lane has improved services for people travelling from Glengormley. Those coming from Templepatrick, whether on the Airbus or the Ballymena and Antrim service, do not get the benefit.
“Recent weeks have seen congestion at Sandyknowes lasting to mid-morning. A bus lane on the motorway and on the off-slip, with priority at the traffic lights on the roundabout, would provide a real incentive for the growing numbers using the bus.
“Every recent improvement in public transport has shown positive effects. More people use better bus and rail services, and they benefit, as does the environment. That is why I shall shortly be meeting the new Chair of Translink.
“I will be working with Alliance members from East Antrim to press for the use of more of the new C3K trains on the Larne and Derry lines. Many more people are using the railway between Portadown and Bangor since new trains were introduced. County Antrim commuters deserve the same.
“We were promised a more frequent, more reliable service, from Ballymena, Antrim and Mossley. I want to see that promise delivered.
“It is also vital that the Department speedily implements the plan for the new Templepatrick railway and bus station beside the M2 at Ballymartin. This is a vital element in providing quality services and reducing congestion and pollution in our area.”