South Down SDLP MLA Colin McGrath has called on Translink’s timetabling department to consider introducing a bus from Castlewellan to Belfast on a Sunday evening.
The local Assembly Member said: “At present there are at least 6 buses on Sunday afternoon/evening which go from Newcastle that end up in Belfast – some going via Ballynahinch, others via Downpatrick. For a resident from Castlewellan this is adding on so much time. For a journey that’s normally approx., 1 hr 20minsm it can be anything up to 2 hrs 25 minutes.
There are many local young people who need to make that journey on a Sunday evening but due to the timetabling issues, they are simply finding alternative ways to get back and I don’t feel that this is good enough.
I am due to meet with Translink management this week and will make this request and ask for it to be explored,”
Hugh Gallagher, Branch Chairman of the Castlewellan and Kilcoo SDLP Branch said: “Many young people travel back to University from Castlewellan on a Sunday evening. At present parents are having to leave them or they get a lift to Newcastle. This is adding significant times and expense onto their journeys. There is also the issue of tourism, particularly during the summer months when holidaymakers want to come to Castlewellan.
“I share Colin’s concerns and call on Translink to have a re-think… surely one of these buses could go via Castlewellan to accommodate the local people who would prefer to go direct. In the past there was definitely a bus, however, this seems to have dropped off when timetables were changed.”