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Calls grow for an extra Strangford ferry sailing

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The Strangford ferry

The Strangford ferry

Photopress Belfast

The Strangford ferry

Commuters are calling for an earlier extra sailing of the Portaferry to Strangford ferry, as many drivers can't get to work on time using the overstretched morning service.

Instead, many are forced to take the long way around the Ards Peninsula by road.

"Unless you are in the line from 7.15am, there is no chance of getting on," Paul Coulter, principal of St Patrick's Primary School in Ballynahinch, told the BBC.

"There were situations where I might have arrived and, three days out of five, not got on.

"Getting off the ferry, I can be in Ballynahinch in 20 minutes. Compare that to about an hour and 15 minutes by road.

"But it's too big a gamble, so this last few months I've decided to drive by road."

SDLP councillor Joe Boyle recently put forward a motion at Ards and North Down Borough Council calling on the Department for Infrastructure to introduce an earlier sailing.

"Basically, we are looking for a sailing from 7.15am," he said.

"We believe the people here need that service so they can get to their place of work on time. You have people using the road instead because they can't take the chance of not getting on."

DfI said: "The department has received a motion passed by Ards and North Down Borough Council and has also been contacted by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council regarding issues relating to the Strangford ferry service. The department has arranged a joint meeting with both councils at the end of January to discuss issues raised."

Belfast Telegraph