Local rail lobby group, ‘Into the West,’ has welcomed the launch of a new ‘Airlink’ ticket which makes the train the cheapest way to get from Derry to Northern Ireland’s busiest airport.
Following requests by local campaigners, Translink has now introduced a through-ticketing system that links the railway across Northern Ireland with the bus service between Antrim Train Station and Belfast International Airport.
Airlink tickets can be purchased at any station on the rail line between Derry and Ballymena, or on the bus from Belfast International Airport.
One Airlink ticket then covers passengers for both the rail trip to/from Antrim and the connecting Airlink bus between there and Aldergrove (Route 109).
The bus is timed to synchronise with trains arriving and departing Antrim Station and the entire journey from Derry takes less than two hours.
Into the West spokesperson, Steve Bradley, commented: “Having more choice on how to travel between Derry and Belfast International Airport is brilliant news.
“Rail is not only the most comfortable and scenic way to travel to Aldergrove – it’s now also by-far the cheapest at only £14.50 single.
However – Into the West is calling on Translink to do more to promote this new service to ensure that people are fully aware of it.
Mr Bradley added: “If you visit Belfast, the new Glider bus service is well promoted. Or if you go to Aldergrove you will see a large bus shelter entirely wrapped in a giant advert for Translink’s bus service into Belfast. Yet you will find absolutely nothing at the airport or anywhere else to tell people about this new Air-link service.
Even the new bus timetable booklet for Derry, just released by Translink, has two pages detailing every single bus from central Belfast to the International and George Best Airports. Yet it has no mention whatsoever of the new AirLink service from Derry. Being able to get to Aldergrove by train is a fantastic service.”
Mr Bradley concluded “The new Airlink train service is a very welcome improvement, and means that local people now have a choice on how best to get to Belfast International Airport.
“We have no doubt it will attract even more people to use rail here and add to Derry’s reputation as Ireland’s fastest growing railway town.
“However, to achieve that it needs Translink to promote it properly and not just leave it to local rail campaigners.”