SDLP Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole has described the preferred routes for the North-South Glider extension as a huge boost for the greater Belfast area.
The SDLP had campaigned for the route to be extended to Carryduff and Glengormley and advocated for it to travel along the Antrim Road in the North of the city and Ormeau Road and Saintfield Road in the South.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“We are absolutely delighted that after much hard work and campaigning the preferred route for the Glider extension will see it travel to both Carryduff and Glengormley. The SDLP played a key role in shaping this project with an extensive response to the public consultation on these proposals and then Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon worked tirelessly to extend the Glider service to other parts of our city.
“In the last few years we have seen the tremendous impact the Glider service has had in the east and west of our city and the extension to the north and south will be transformational for people living in those communities. We will continue to work with the all the relevant departments and agencies to see this project come to fruition and look forward to work commencing as soon as possible.”
Councillor Carl Whyte said:
“The extension of the Glider route to north Belfast and Glengormley along the Antrim Road will be warmly welcomed by people in this area. This is a place that has been crying out for improved public transport links for a number of years and this service will make a real difference to the local community.
“This announcement is timely given the opening of the new Ulster University campus in the area which has seen large numbers of young people travelling to north Belfast for the first time. This service will make it easier for students to travel to and from university, taking cars off the road and reducing congestion. It will also help those from the area to travel around the city, while others can easily visit the area to patronise our local businesses, including our increasing hospitality offering.“We must also ensure that throughout this process the concerns of the local community and businesses are taken on board and addressed to make sure we get the best service we possibly can for people in this area.”
Councillor John Gallen said:
“Carryduff is an area that is constantly growing and expanding, and unfortunately existing public transport provision cannot meet the current demand. This is an area that has been historically underserved with transport links and with thousands more homes to be built in the wider area in the coming years the problem will get only worse.
“The proposed Glider link will go a huge way to addressing these problems and I’m glad that the views of people in Carryduff were considered when this decision was made. This is an area that has so much to offer and I know this route will make a huge difference not only to those who live here, but who work and regularly socialise in the city centre.”
Councillor Simon Lee said:
“This new Glider link will not only address long-standing issues around a lack of public transport for people here, but will also have significant benefits for our environment. The reality is that people in this area currently have little option but to drive when they want to travel into Belfast or further afield and this service gives people the option of leaving the car at home and choosing a more sustainable option, reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality.
“If we are serious about tackling the climate emergency facing our planet then a proper public transport network is going to be key in taking cars off our roads and I look forward to seeing further proposals brought forward to help us reach our active travel goals."