Rail Service Reductions “Put on Hold”

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has said there was some good news about public transport in East Antrim announced this week at the Stormont Regional Committee meeting. Although fares are set to increase by an average of 3 %, the proposal to reduce services between Whitehead and Larne has been put on hold, with Translink continuing to monitor usage now that new trains have been introduced.

Roy Beggs MLA said:
“Of course it is disappointing that Translink are planning 3% average fare increases, although it must be recognised that there has been no increase in public transport fares for 2 years despite hikes in fuel costs and inflation.
However from a constituency point of view I am very pleased that we have been told that the proposal to reduce rail services between Whitehead and Larne has been put on hold. Translink is still working on a new timetable due to be launched in July and is continuing to monitor usage. This is very welcome news and should encourage increased use of the excellent new trains which are being rolled out on the Larne line. The Use it or Lose it campaign is working and must continue.”

A Departmental paper on Translink’s business plans was presented to the Regional Development Committee on Wednesday. The brief given to MLAs said ‘(Translink) confirmed rail services will be maintained or improved on all lines. There will be expansion of services on the following lines: Coleraine to Belfast, Whitehead to Belfast.’

The East Antrim MLA who was attending his last DRD Committee before joining the Finance and Personnel scrutiny committee commented:
“Faced with tight public finances, it is surely better to have modest fare increases rather than cuts to public transport services. I would encourage continued use of the rail option for commuters in the Larne area. If you have not used the train for a while, I would urge you to give it a try. The new trains which have come online, make the daily commute to work by rail much, much more appealing. At the same time with the increased costs of petrol, road tax and parking charges, using the train is a far more cost effective option. ”

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