New late night bus service welcomed

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The manager of the City Centre Iniative Jim Roddy has welcomed the introduction of new late night bus services between Londonderry and Belfast.

He said: “The introduction of later night time services operating in both directions between Belfast and Derry~Londonderry since the beginning of July is a great facility for passengers wishing to stay later in either city for work or leisure purposes.”

People can now avail of an 11pm service from Londonderry to Belfast and a 1am service from Belfast to Londonderry.

Meanwhile, further bus and train service are to be introduced from September 20 following a public consultation earlier this year.

The announcement follows a three month hold put on the planned service changes to allow additional time for discussion and agreement between Translink, Unite Trade Union and the Minister for Regional Development.

Translink Group Chief Executive David Strahan explained: “We are operating in a challenging fiscal environment where the public funding we receive has been reduced significantly.

“Today we welcome agreement with our Unite trade union colleagues which allows us to implement the planned service changes with effect from September 1, 2015.

“We have also agreed to establish a joint working group which will examine the long term impact of a reduced budget for the company.

“While there will be a reduction to the overall workforce, this is being addressed through a recruitment freeze, redeployment and natural attrition. There will be no compulsory redundancies for front line staff as a result of these service changes.

“These forthcoming service changes are just part of our overall plans to reduce our costs due to the funding reductions. Earlier this year we also identified long term savings of more than £3m per annum from within management and overhead costs through reductions in manpower and more efficient working.

“We have worked hard to minimize the impact of the reduced funding on front line services and have been able to protect the geographic coverage of the network albeit with some reduced frequency on some services.

“This was the overwhelming feedback from customers throughout our consultation which was the largest consultation exercise we have ever held with over 5,000 responses.

“We will continue to work with Unite to deliver quality and sustainable bus and train services for Northern Ireland. Our focus will remain on reducing costs, enhancing value for money and providing improvements to make our services attractive as more and more people choose the bus and train,” David concluded.