Belfast Telegraph

Passengers baffled by Belfast's new bus routes

By John Mulgrew

Dude, where's my bus? That was the question some passengers across Belfast were asking yesterday as they came to terms with the relocation of Metro bus stops across the city centre.

The move is part of a Department for Regional Development initiative, aimed at giving greater priority to public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

Feelings were mixed on the ground with some passengers fully informed with new timetables in hand, while others wandered around their old bus stops with glazed expressions.

Some passengers said they had received information about the changes through the post, while others were left in the dark, only hearing of the new routes yesterday afternoon.

The changes, which came into effect yesterday, include altered north Belfast routes, which now depart from Upper Queen Street as opposed to Donegall Square.

There are also adjustments to the locations of bus stops on Chichester Street and Wellington Place for some services operating to the west, east and south of the city.

Translink staff were a visible force on the streets as they were bombarded with questions from struggling passengers looking for much needed last-minute information.

But chaos was averted with many passengers seemingly absorbing the new changes and finding the correct bus home.

Speaking at one of the city's stops yesterday afternoon, Translink's Belfast manager Billy Gilpin said the morning rush had gone "reasonably well".

"So far this morning it's been fairly good - we're obviously here now seeing what happens in the afternoon. It's gone reasonably well. Just getting used to the new traffic arrangements. It's part of the greater plan to improve traffic flow and to promote public transport. It's part of a sustainable transport initiative."

A spokeswoman for Translink said the company had been making customers aware of the changes since last month.

"We have been communicating information on the Metro changes since early August including notices on buses and sending new timetables to around 200,000 homes in Belfast.

"Our customer information teams have also been busy speaking with passengers in the city centre all week to help them find their new bus stops."

Full details of the changes can be found on the Translink website at www.translink.co.uk or by phone on 028 9066 6630.

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