Belfast Telegraph

Balmoral Show: Furious passengers boil over as buses caught up in traffic chaos

By Chris McCullough

It wasn't just rising temperatures getting Balmoral Show visitors hot and bothered yesterday - massive traffic jams also played their part.

Women and children were forced to disembark from buses stuck in the traffic and walk from Culcavy and Hillsborough.

Two accidents were reported along routes to the grounds, causing huge tailbacks.

It took visitors more than two hours to reach Balmoral Park from Belfast by train and bus.

And there were reports last night that it was just as bad getting back home.

In the morning, furious passengers had to sit on buses for over an hour. One woman and her two-year-old daughter got off at Culcavy after sitting on a bus for 40 minutes.

"It was a crazy situation," said the woman from Greenisland, who pushed her child in a buggy.

"The train journey from Belfast to Lisburn was fine.

"Quite a few fellow passengers helped me with my daughter and buggy. The queues at Lisburn train station to get the bus were quite long, but we got on OK.

"However, the first problem was the bus they used for the journey between Lisburn and the show was not so spacious for a buggy and the driver told me I should have folded it up. That was impossible for me to do.

"We sat on the bus for 40 minutes and came to a standstill and it was very hot on the bus. The driver said there was nothing he could do, so some passengers started to get off and walk.

"After sitting another 10 minutes without moving I decided to get off at Culcavy and walk all the way to the main gate.

"Quite a few of the other passengers decided to do the same and all were complaining.

"What is the point telling people to use public transport when it, too, is stuck in traffic?"

A show exhibitor rushing to a lunchtime business meeting said: "From the Moira roundabout it took 45 minutes to travel probably five miles. Even when we got to the car park there was no urgency to get the traffic moved on.

"The organisers knew the people were coming and they knew from which direction. Why are they not prepared for this?"

Translink said its shuttle bus service experienced some delays, but it had worked with show organisers, PSNI and the Department for Infrastructure to ease the situation.

A spokeswoman said: "We would remind visitors to leave plenty of time to make their journeys. Follow us on Twitter @Translink_NI for all the latest travel updates."

Belfast Telegraph

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