Change to bus time will help hospital visitors

Translink is to alter the Larne-to-Antrim bus timetable to help people travelling to Antrim Area Hospital access normal afternoon visiting times.

The move, which will take effect in January, has been warmly welcomed by Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs Jnr, who has been lobbying for change.

Mr Beggs said: “The only convenient bus service to tie in with afternoon hospital visits is the 13.25 from Larne station which should get into Antrim bus station at 14.18. At 14.18 a bus from Antrim depot goes to the hospital.

“However, if the Larne bus is delayed it misses this connection and there is no other bus to the hospital for two hours.”

The East Antrim Assemblyman added: “There have been several occasions recently when the Larne bus was late and arrived in Antrim well after the scheduled 14.18 time. Passengers wanting to go on to the hospital were effectively stranded.”

There are only two services from Larne bus station which go right through to Antrim Area Hospital. They leave Larne at 15.30 and 17.25 and arrive at 16.23 and 18.18 at the hospital. Afternoon visiting hours are from 2.30-4pm, and 7.30-9pm in the evening for the main adult wards.

Mr Beggs said: “I am pleased that Translink have recognised the particular timetabling problem and have agreed to alter it. The Larne-to-Antrim bus will leave five minutes earlier at 13.20 from the start of January. I am grateful to local Translink manager Sam Todd and the constituent who brought this matter to my attention.

“However, it does flag up yet again the difficulties Larne folk have to surmount if they want to get to the acute hospital at Antrim by public transport.”