Translink has refuted a claim that its Derry to Dublin X4 route via East Tyrone and Armagh was resulting in significantly longer journey times than timetabled for by the public transport provider.
However, a Translink spokesperson has acknowledged that services on all its routes may be delayed on some occasions due to unforeseen circumstances such as heavy traffic, accidents or bad weather.
The company was responding to a criticism by Dublin-based Damien O’Connell, who contacted the ‘Journal’ to complain that buses plying the X4 route, which travels via Cookstown, Dungannon, the Moy and Armagh, take much longer than those serving the long-standing and more familiar X3 route via Strabane, Omagh and Monaghan.
Mr. O’Connell has complained that the X4 route covers a “much longer distance” and that this has slowed “the service down considerably”.
“The timetable says 4 hours for both the X3 and the X4, however, the reality is that the X3 does it often in three hours 30 mins while the X4 is closer to four hours 30 minutes to five hours at times,” he stated.
“Ulsterbus are deliberately timetabling both routes as the same travel time to justify these cutbacks and I feel it’s time this has been highlighted to the travelling public.
“In any event it is a terrible reflection of the transport infrastructure in 2018 that it takes so long to travel 150 miles and this would not be the case in any other European country.
“It should easily be under three hours at a speed of 50 miles per hour which is not excessive. It’s about time in 2018 that Derry got a ‘real’ express service to Dublin,” he added.
But Translink, which has been running the X4 route for a number of years, said it operated four X3 and three X4 departures each day from Derryto Dublin.
Conversely, there are three X3 four X4s departures from Dublin to Derry and daily.
A spokesperson for the bus operator: “The majority of our services run according to their timetabled schedule and we continually monitor our punctuality performance. However, there may be occasions that heavy traffic, accidents or bad weather cause delays.”