Concert goers planning on travelling to Derry this weekend for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend are being advised to plan their journey well in advance and to avail of the additional rail and bus services that have been put in place.
Event organisers BBC and Derry City Council have been working in close partnership with Translink to provide the additional bus and rail services from various towns and cities across the north plus extended regional and evening city services.
Translink spokesperson Louise Scott said every effort was being made to facilitate concert goers and make sure a range of special services were in place for those wishing to avail of public transport.
She explained: “Our special train and coach tickets are proving very popular and we would encourage people to book now to ensure they enjoy a hassle-free journey. Concert-goers can use normal scheduled train services to reach the city and return on the special late night return services departing Derry each night after the concerts end. Online sales are now closed for the late night Friday train service with a limited number of tickets still available from Belfast Central Station.
“There is still limited availability on the special late night Saturday and Sunday rail services which will depart the city at 11.40pm after the concerts finish. These special late night train services will stop at Bellarena, Castlerock, Coleraine, Ballymoney, Ballymena, Cullybackey, Antrim, Mossley West and Belfast Central. We are also pleased to announce that an additional train service will run from Belfast Great Victoria Street Station to Derry at 12.40pm on Sunday. Return rail tickets are available from £10 – 20 per person and passengers must have a special boarding card and ticket to travel on the late night return services.
“Special concert coaches will also run from various locations across Northern Ireland including: Belfast, Bangor, Lisburn, Newtownards, Newry, Omagh, Strabane, Enniskillen, Coleraine and Magherafelt. Special return bus and coach fares are available from £10 - £16 per person. For booking and further information on all Translink’s special coach and rail services click www.translink.co.uk/bigweekend,” said Louise.
In addition to this, a series of enhanced and free local bus services have also been arranged for concert goers by Derry City Council.
John Kelpie, Strategic Director and lead officer for the event with Derry City Council said the additional free services would greatly assist in getting local people home safely after each of the concerts. He added that there is no requirement to book in advance for these services.
The extended City side services will operate from the Strand Road, opposite the Council Offices while those availing of services to the Waterside can avail of them from the Foyle Street Bus Station. The services will operate as follows - on Friday 24th May all buses will be in position at 11.30pm to commence services at midnight and running until 1.30 am. On Saturday25th May and Sunday 26th May all buses will be in position at 10.30pm to commence services at 11.00pm running until 1.30am.
On all three nights the following City side services will be extended: FY8 Creggan,
FY10 Ballymagroarty, FY11 Woodbrook, FY12 Slievemore, and FY13 Fernabbey, Ballyarnett while the Waterside services of FY1 Strathfoyle, FY4 Curryneirin,FY5 Gobnascale, FY6 Newbuildings, will be extended.
It is recommended that ticket holders use one of the two Park and Strike facilities set up over the weekend on the Foyle College site at Limavady Road or at Fort George. The Park and Stride points are the identified drop off and pick points during and after the concerts and while spaces are limited, they will operate on a first come first served basis.
A number of car parking spaces will be available over the weekend, in the City side the following car parks will be operating at William Street, Victoria Market, Strand Road, Carlisle Road, Bishop Street, Society Street, Foyle Road and Foyle Street. The Foyleside East and West and Quayside car parks will be available. On the Waterside, the Railway Yard, Railway Station, Spencer Road, Simpsons Brae, Alfred Street and Harper’s Quay on Spencer Road car parks will be available.
Encouraging people to plan their journey in advance, Mr. Kelpie advised the public to check the Council’s website regularly at www.derrycity.gov.uk/radio1bigweekend for updates including details of disabled parking, traffic and parking restrictions, and general advice and assistance for those attending the gigs.