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Concerns raised as Armagh bus centre set to close on Sundays

Thursday, 22 June 2017

PLANS to close Armagh bus centre on Sundays as part of cost cutting measures unveiled by Translink have been described as "a bad move" by a local trade union representative.

John Devlin, a shop steward for Unite, believes the proposed changes - which are due to come into effect on Sunday, July 2 - will have a devastating impact on all bus users, particularly the elderly and disabled.

Speaking to the Ulster Gazettte, Mr Devlin said many of the travelling public are elderly or disabled and will be disadvantaged as a result of these proposed changes.

"We have been fighting against it for health and safety reasons," Mr Devlin said.

"The drivers are totally against it as it is going to have a detrimental effect on them, as there will be no toilet facilities, shelters or restrooms.

"All business is going to have to be conducted on the street and the travelling public and driving staff will experience much inconvenience and will no longer have access to facilities, such as toilets, shelter, enquiries, inspectors, etc.

"It will be a big miss to the travelling public and it is a bad move as they will be standing out waiting and will not know if the bus has gone.

"As a city who has invested so much into tourism over recent years, this development will have a negative effect and will not encourage visitors to Armagh," Mr Devlin warned.

Armagh City Ulster Unionist Councillor Sam Nicholson has expressed his concern at the plans and intends requesting an urgent meeting with Translink officials.

"We understand times are tough, but when Armagh is trying to drive tourism and get people into the city, it is not a good signal when the Sunday opening of the bus station is no longer viable," he said.

"It's a backward step in my eyes and we will be requesting a meeting with Translink to see if we can discuss it with them.

"I am not aware of any consultation having taken place and the shop steward has already said, drivers require facilities, as well as passengers," he added.

In a statement, a Translink spokesperson said: "As part of our drive to deliver value for money, we continue to create efficiencies throughout the organisation, so we can continue to offer best value for our customers and continue to ensure we operate efficiently.

"As part of these efficiencies, Armagh Buscentre will close on Sundays from 2nd July 2017.

"These changes help to reduce costs whilst maintaining services for our customers in the Armagh area.

"For passenger convenience, local Ulsterbus and Goldline Express services on Sundays will now all depart from the bus stops on Lonsdale Road directly outside the bus station (north-bound) and outside SERC (for Belfast/Dublin directions).

Tickets can be bought on board our buses.

"Our new summer timetable will clarify these details for our customers and we have also started a customer information poster campaign."

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