28/10/2010

Cairnshill Drivers Urged To 'Get On The Buses'

A long-awaited bus service for an underused park and ride site for motorists in south Belfast is to begin shortly.

From Monday, 1st November, Translink will provide the service, which will take commuters into Belfast city centre.

It will operate every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, Monday - Friday and a return ticket will cost £2.20 based on Smartlink fare prices.

The department of Regional Development spent £8m developing the site on the A24 at Cairnshill which was completed and then little used by drivers since last July.

Since then the site has operated as a car park pending the appointment of a bus operator, but with vastloy reduced usage despite the Cairnshill Park and Ride site offering 700 free parking spaces.

Today, Translink Group Chief Executive Catherine Mason said "not only is parking free at the site but the park and ride service costs just £2.20 a day using a Translink Smartlink card.

"Therefore, a working week's total travel expenses could be as low as £11-huge savings compared to driving and city centre parking."

Transport Minister, Conor Murphy said: "I welcome the introduction of this frequent dedicated bus service for the Cairnshill Park and Ride.

"This facility is an important element of the Departments commitment to promote more sustainable travel, by offering commuters on this corridor an alternative for their journey into the city centre.

"This new bus service together with the new priority bus lanes on the Saintfield Road and Ormeau Road will improve the reliability and journey speeds both for the new Park and Ride service and existing bus services.

"The aim of these two new initiatives is to encourage more people out of their cars and onto public transport at the busiest times of the day, reducing congestion on city centre streets."

The service will have stops at College Green, Bedford Street and the Europa Buscentre on the inward journey and will stop at Adelaide Street, Dublin Road and College Green on the return journey.

The new and extended bus lanes will give priority to Cairnshill Park & Ride buses and scheduled bus services on the Saintfield Road between Beechill Road and Upper Knockbreda Road, and on the Ormeau Road between Ravenhill Road and University Avenue, city-bound, 7.30am - 9.30am Monday to Friday.

The lanes are available to buses, motorcycles, bicycles and Belfast public hire taxis during the period of operation and to all vehicles at all other times. They are clearly marked with white lines and the associated signs.

(BMcC/GK)

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