Translink’s decision on 
Lisburn stop is ‘ludicrous’

A LISBURN man has described as ‘ludicrous’ a decision by Translink to avoid the city centre as part of their Dublin Airport to Belfast bus route and instead stop at Sprucefield.

John Miskelly said that the stop is nowhere near a taxi depot and miles away from the new bus station at Smithfield.

“The Dublin Airport/Belfast bus service drops off passengers at Sprucefield (one mile outside Lisburn) but the bus company will not come into Lisburn City,” he said.

“This is in spite of the bus service leaving the main route to go into, and drop off in the towns of Newry and Banbridge taking some 20 minutes detour in the process to drop in these two town centres.

“By dropping off at Sprucefield it is a huge inconvenience to Lisburn passengers, particularly at nights, alighting in the middle of nowhere - this when the new Lisburn City bus terminus is only three minutes bus travel down the road.”

He went on to say that he had contacted Translink and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board on the subject.

He was told by Translink that they “do not currently have plans to move the stopping point from Sprucefield to Lisburn as this balances customer demand and commercial viability.”

“Being a simple soul I have no idea what that ‘balancing of customer demand and commercial viability’ actually means - my main concerns are for both customer safety and customer service,” Mr Miskelly said. “It is ludicrous for Translink to not consider customer safety in particular.

“How much easier it would be to have passengers dropped off in the middle of Lisburn instead of the middle of nowhere at Sprucefield at 2am or 3am? Also, in terms of customer service, there are at least three taxi companies within 100 metres walking distance of the new Lisburn bus station and there is absolutely no services in the Sprucefield ‘desert.’ We have built a wonderful new bus station in Lisburn and Translink won’t drop passengers off in it.

“Translink may explain that the Lisburn bus station is not open 24 hours and I counter that this is no problem whatsoever for the passengers to be dropped off at an ‘out of hours/night’ bus stop opposite the bus station in Lisburn.

“This ‘new’ bus stop in Market Place would drop passengers off approximately 100 metres from three taxi companies for passengers’ safe onward journeys. This stop is inherently more safe for customers travelling at night than being dropped off at Sprucefield.

“Translink may say that this is a big detour for the bus but they would be wrong - I have driven and timed the journey from Sprucefield to Lisburn Bus station, then onto Chapel Hill and onto the dual carriageway (Governors Road and Laganbank Road) onto Sloan Street/Saintfield Road joining the M1 one junction further down towards Belfast than the Sprucefield junction. Under the present system, the time taken to drop customers off in Sprucefield and then drive onto the M1 motorway and arrive at the Saintfield Road M1 motorway junction is approximately six minutes in average traffic conditions.

“The time taken to drive from Sprucefield into Lisburn and join the M1 one junction further towards Belfast is nine minutes - an extra 3 minutes on the journey time!

Of course the Belfast to Dublin bus would leave the M1 motorway at the Saintfield Road junction and come into the bus station on Saintfield Road/Sloan Street/Linenhall Street direction and when leaving the Lisburn Bus station would turn left onto Hillsborough Road thence to Sprucefield and onto Dublin.”

In a response a spokesperson from Translink said, “The X1 service is a very popular service for passengers wishing to travel to and from Dublin airport. A key selling point of the service’s appeal is that the journey time is around two hours 25 minutes, which can be achieved by taking as direct a route as possible to Dublin.

“The route is clearly advertised on the Translink website and in printed timetables route and does not include Lisburn city centre, calling instead at Sprucefield to accommodate passengers travelling from the Lisburn and surrounding areas.”