David Ford said: “Since the introduction of the new C3K trains, there has been a significant increase in the number of passengers throughout the NIR network. Unfortunately, the increase has been lower than it might have been on local services because of the poor timetable on the Belfast – Derry line.
“I welcome the modest improvements in the new timetable. The new semi-express on a Friday afternoon will remove some of the student passengers from the existing services. This will improve conditions for Mossley and Antrim commuters.
“Regular passengers will however be disappointed that the hourly service between Ballymena and Belfast is unlikely to be introduced before September. I believe this change is absolutely essential if we are to get full benefit from the new rolling stock on the new Bleach Green line.
“Translink staff are keen to make these improvements and I will continue to keep up pressure on the government to ensure that adequate resources are provided to meet the need of local people. The only alternative is continuing environmental damage caused by congestion on the M2 and other commuter routes.”