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Hourly bus service between Newry and Dublin ‘needs to be reinstated’

A Newry MLA is pushing for the reintroduction of an hourly bus service between Newry and Dublin.

Sinn Fein’s Liz Kimmins raised the issue after she was contacted by people who depend on the service for their work.

It’s understood that it currently has services from Newry to Dublin every two hours after 9.40am.

However, Ms Kimmins questioned the Department of Infrastructure’s commitment to delivering a cleaner and greener way of living and travelling.

She said: “In 2019 there was an hourly bus service from Newry to Dublin and Dublin Airport.

“Currently, Translink’s 2021-2022 timetable only has services from Newry to Dublin every two hours after 9.40. Meanwhile Banbridge still has an hourly service to Dublin.

“While I appreciate that Covid has led to some changes, Newry deserves its hourly service reinstated.

“I have been contacted by people who depend on this service for their work and who have been badly affected by this reduction so I have raised this issue at the infrastructure committee today and will further engage with Translink in the time ahead.

“If we are serious about encouraging people to take up buses and trains, we need a public transport system that is up to the task.”

A Translink spokesperson said it was committed to the “vital” cross-border coach service.

It blamed the “reduction in passenger numbers” as the reason for the hourly service withdrawal.

“Pre-covid, the hourly coach timetable was operated jointly with Bus Eireann,” a spokesperson said.

“However, due to the reduction in passenger numbers as a result of the pandemic, Bus Eireann permanently withdrew from this route, reducing the service to every two hours.

“We also continue to provide rail services from Newry to Dublin offering further flexibility and choice for customers.

“We are committed to this route and continue to monitor passenger numbers and when there is appropriate demand we will review timetable enhancements to serve both Dublin Airport and Dublin city centre.

‘‘We have been in a position to adjust the X1 Belfast to Dublin service to facilitate a stop in Banbridge as this adds little time to the overall journey.”

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