Sinn Féin have welcomed the success of the revised and extended Causeway Rambler bus service between Portrush and Ballycastle piloted during 2017 summer season, but have called for an additional hop-on/ hop-off bus service to go beyond Ballycastle around the coast to the Glens and loop back around at Larne.
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan and Ballycastle and Glens Councillor Cara McShane met with Tranlink recently to put forward the case.
Philip McGuigan MLA said:
“We welcome the success of the Causeway Rambler during the months of July and August but if we are truly to meet the needs of the public and maximise the tourist potential that we have along the coast, then this service needs to continue all year long.
“We also put the case that an additional service must go beyond Ballycastle to Cushendall and on to Larne. This must be a regular service and one that needs to be marketed in a way that again can benefit locals, tourists and the local economy of our towns and villages that have so much to offer.
Cllr. Cara McShane added:
“We are all aware of the increase in tourism figures this year but there is a massive role for the public transport sector which has not yet been fully realised. The public transport particularly along the coast road from Ballycastle to the Glens needs to be reviewed urgently. This is a route that continues to be voted one of the most scenic in the world, yet the public transport service in the area does not match the potential.
“We need a service similar to the Causeway Rambler that allows people to hop-on and off at ease and to spend time savouring the stunning and quaint locations and delights. A properly funded public bus service will in turn boost the economies of the likes of Ballycastle, Cushendall, Bushmills and everywhere in between and beyond.”
Philip McGuigan concluded:
“We completely understand the resource requirements for such a service but we certainly think it is something that Translink should pilot and we will continue to meet with Translink, Council directors, tourism providers and other stakeholders to see this come to fruition.”