Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland bus and rail fares to increase - but is it worth it?

Metro, Ulsterbus and NI Railways ticket prices up by 1.6%

By Allan Preston

Translink has announced bus and rail ticket prices will increase again in March - but is public transport in Northern Ireland value for money? Take our poll below.

The average price of tickets for Metro, NI Railways and Ulsterbus will go up by 1.6% from March 27 in line with the latest UK inflation rate.

Translink argue the price is well below the Retail Price Index of 2.5%.

Customers were also reminded that discounts of around 30% could still be achieved by using multi-journey 'smart' tickets.                                      

Making the announcement, Translink chief executive Chris Conway said: “We will have held our fares for over two years through good business management and a keen focus on cost efficiency, we know many of our passengers appreciated this.

“We have also been increasing numbers of fare-paying passengers; this was clearly evidenced in the weeks before Christmas when over half a million additional journeys were made on public transport compared to the previous year.  These measures have meant we are able to maintain value for money by keeping fares low."

He continued: “We continue to actively encourage customers to use the range of great value promotions and multi journey tickets available and we would urge regular users to take advantage of the savings to be made. 

“We have also maintained everyday value Smartlink multi-journey discounts of around 30% for bus travel compared to paying cash fares and recently introduced more popular mobile ticketing options to offer customers even greater choice and convenience.

"In addition, off peak travel offers such as third off rail and selected Goldline services will be maintained."

In February 2015 Translink faced criticism after price changes went up more than three times the rate of inflation.

It was later revealed that almost two thirds of its budget went towards salaries, and although fuel costs had been cited as a factor it emerged this only accounted for 15% of the Translink budget.

Many commuters at the time argued Translink should have done more to offset charges, including reducing the wages of senior officials.

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