Passengers travelling in the Newtownards area can soon enjoy the benefits of three new modern high capacity Ulsterbus vehicles that can each carry up to 62 passengers and will replace older retiring vehicles.
Funded by the Department for Regional Development, their arrival is part of the roll-out of 60 new buses representing an overall £8.5 million upgrade investment in Ulsterbus services across Northern Ireland.
Richard Hudson, service delivery manager for Translink in Newtownards, said the vehicles have been specifically designed with an emphasis on safety, comfort and the environment.
“This £425,000 investment marks another milestone in the transformation of bus services in the Newtownards area and demonstrates our commitment to improving services for our passengers,” Mr Hudson said.
“All vehicles are on schedule to be in operation early this year and we are confident that, in conjunction with attractive good value ticket options, more people will be encouraged to use Ulsterbus.”
The 12 metres long single-deck buses feature a dedicated side door with lift for easy wheelchair access.
They also incorporate three-point integral seatbelts, PA and CCTV system, reverse warning system and meet the latest European legislation for emissions standards.
Alderman Jim Shannon said the investment of £425 000 was “significant” for Ards but more importantly the vehicles are “disabled and wheelchair friendly state-of-the-art modern buses” available for everyone in the borough.
“Here is an example of the Assembly being made aware of the need for legislative change; that then took place and 18 months later the new buses are in place all over the province, there are 60 buses in total and Ards have three of them to a value of £425 000,” Mr Shannon said.
“This is a great story of delivery for disabled people and the public transport system in Ards.”