Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has officially opened the new £330,000 park and ride facility at Millbrook.
He said the site, provided by the Department, provides the community the opportunity to park their cars safely and make their onward journey aboard a coach or bus service.
“This is another step in the right direction towards more sustainable transport options and hopefully this will encourage more people out of their cars and into public transport, and reduce road congestion.
“The site removes vehicles from the adjacent Old Belfast Road and the residential area. Roads Service has also incorporated a traffic island so that residents can cross the road safely when seeking to use the bus.
“Drivers can use the facility to park their vehicles and share the onward journey into Belfast, or to link into existing public services, thereby reducing car occupancy on what is a key corridor into Belfast.”
“The scheme which cost £330,000 provides 84 car parking spaces, of which six spaces are designated for people with disabilities,” the minister said.
Goldline Service 256 Larne - Belfast; Ulsterbus Service 156 Larne – Ballyclare - Belfast and Ulsterbus Service 154 Larne – Ballyclare - Antrim operate from the site.
Sam Todd, service delivery manager for Larne said: “Park and ride is an important part of Translink’s plans to provide customers with integrated convenient and attractive travel solutions. With a combined service of every 30 minutes at the peak and hourly off peak, this new facility makes it easy for our customers to transfer from their car onto the coach or bus. Regular car commuters will no doubt be feeling the effects of increased motoring costs.
“In these austere times we would encourage people to look at our great everyday value ticket types and see how using the bus could help save them money by reducing their fuel costs and not having to pay for car parking.
“For example, a commuter using a Smartlink card for travel between Millbrook park and ride and Belfast could save almost £70 per month on journey costs to and from work.”
MLA Roy Beggs Jnr said: “Not only is Millbrook an important hub for park and ride with easy access to bus services, this new facility will be a safe and accessible meeting point to park and share for car-pooling commuters.
“Whilst some concerns were raised at the planning stage about this facility, I believe that overall what has been provided by Roads Service is positive and beneficial- not only for the wider travelling public, but for the residents of Millbrook as well.
“It is noticeable that far fewer cars are now parked on the Old Belfast Road outside private homes. This had been causing friction in the area, with complaints that local residents were having difficulty parking outside their homes, or being blocked in on occasions by other road users. This is what led to calls being made by myself and other representatives for Roads Service to provide a park and ride car park for the Millbrook area in recent years.
“I would also welcome the recent traffic calming measures including safer pedestrian access to the bus shelter,” Mr Beggs said.