Hospital bus stop ‘optimism’

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A Mid Ulster councillor who has been calling for a bus stop to be provided for the Goldline Express 212 at Antrim Area Hospital, believes “there is room for optimism.”

Ulster Unionist Councillor George Shiels has argued that the service is badly needed for patients and visitors to the hospital from the district.

But a Translink spokesperson told the Mail that they have no plans to operate the 212 Goldline Express Service via Antrim Area Hospital.

The Magherafelt councillor said he has written to the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure, Katrina Godfrey, to ask again for the bus stop to be included at the hospital for the benefit of passengers wishing to use the 212 Express.

“I still believe there is room for optimism that Translink may yet add a stop at the hospital for the Goldline Express 212 as part of their service between Londonderry and Belfast,” he said.

“A fair wind is with us in the ongoing battle to have a bus stop at the hospital for passengers to get on or off the Translink Goldline Express. The stock Translink answer in the past has always been that the passengers using the service on this route don’t want another stop to perhaps add five minutes to the overall journey time.

“They’re all right Jack, as are others living near Toomebridge and near every rats-pad of a Belfast side street where there is a stop and all passengers wait patiently before eventually arriving at the Europa Bus Terminal.”

Councillor Shiels continued: “The big change coming, which I think may soften hearts and change minds, is the massive cut in journey time predicted once the A6 work is complete.

“I have told Translink that once these predicted journey time savings are real, then there will be no excuse not to provide a stop at Antrim Area Hospital. Translink at that point will have lost the argument. Here’s hoping and happy bussing!”

A Translink spokesperson said: “The 212 is a Goldline Express Service designed to operate limited stops to keep journey time as low as possible.”

She stressed that they have no plans to operate the 212 Goldline Express Service via Antrim Area Hospital.